Lebanon: Syrian Citizen Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison on the Basis of Confessions Obtained Under Torture
On 18 May 2015, 25-year-old Syrian citizen Yarub Al Faraj was arrested by members of the Military Intelligence at a military checkpoint in the Bekaa Valley in eastern Lebanon and taken to the Ablah Military Barrack, where he was tortured and forced to confess to accusations of terrorism, which were later used as the basis for his conviction by the Military Court in December 2015. In view of these facts, Alkarama sent on 23 February 2016 a communication to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (SRT), Juan E. Méndez, asking him to call upon the Lebanese authorities to open an investigation into the acts of torture to which Al Faraj was subjected and to retry him, disregarding all confessions obtained under torture.
After being arrested for not being able to prove his legal entry in Lebanon, Al Faraj was detained incommunicado for 25 days, during which he was severely beaten up, sometimes while hanged from the ceiling, deprived of food and water and had his life threatened. Following these acts of torture, Al Faraj was forced to sign confessions he was not allowed to read. On 28 December 2015, the Military Court sentenced him to 5 years in prison and a fine of 100,000 Lebanese pounds for belonging to a terrorist group and being involved in clashes with Lebanese soldiers at the border with Syria. His conviction was based solely on the confessions he made under torture.
Al Faraj appealed his conviction to the Military Court of Cassation, affirming that he had been tortured in detention, but his appeal was rejected and no investigation was opened into his allegations. Left with no other recourse at the national level, Al Faraj's family reached out to Alkarama to bring his case before the UN human rights mechanisms.
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