Lebanon: The endless injustice of « Nahr Al Bared » case
Nahr Al Bared is a Palestinian refugee camp located in Northern Lebanon. From May to September 2007, it was the scene of clashes between the regular Lebanese forces and Fatah Al Islam, an armed radical group, which led to the death of at least 300 civilians and the displacement of thousands of others. Following a vast operation, hundreds of people were arrested and to date, 87 of them are still arbitrarily detained or prosecuted for supposedly supporting this group.
Alkarama had already alerted the UN procedures in 2011 concerning the high risk of violation of their fundamental right to fair trial these 87 persons could be subjected to. The Council of Ministers' decision in 2007 to bring them before the Judicial Council, an extraordinary court that does not have sufficient independence from the executive according to the UN, was the premise to a partial justice. It is indeed frequent for this court not to apply international fair trial rules and additionally, its decision cannot be appealed.
It was also confirmed that the persons detained in this case were tortured during their detention in the Defense Ministry building and in the Military Tribunal. Such acts were perpetrated by the authorities to extract confessions about their alleged adherence or connection with Fatah Al Islam and use them before the court.
It is only in 2013, six years after their arrest, that some of those persons were finally tried before the Judicial Council. Only 12 of them though have been, in May 2014, sentenced to two to fifteen years in prison on the basis of records containing confessions obtained under torture. To date, 61 persons remain in custody awaiting their trial.
These elements clearly characterise a violation of the right to fair trial of these persons. In this sense, Alkarama has sent a new communication to the competent UN procedures so that they request the Lebanese authorities to take all necessary measures to end this unjust situation.