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Copyright 2004 Bilal


Usted es  el visitante numero:


Desde Noviembre de 2004

 

 

URGENT:

Lebanese Detainees in Syria:

A High Priority Demand on the Syrian Regime

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To whom it may concern,

 

The human rights organization SOLIDA – Support for Lebanese Detained Arbitrarily – is deeply concerned about the condition of Lebanese nationals who are secretly detained in Syrian prisons.

 

Since 1976, Syria has carried out kidnappings and disappearances on Lebanese territory. Today, at least 200 Lebanese nationals remain secretly incarcerated in Syria without any judicial due process and under sub-human conditions.

 

If only to give you an illustration of the conditions under which these detainees are held, please consider the example of one Lebanese detainee who was freed in 1998 from a Syrian jail after having gouged his own eyes only so that he would be released and escape from the hands of his torturers.

 

The families of the detainees, having organized themselves as the Committee of the Families of Lebanese Detainees in Syria, have tried in vain to seek any information on the fate of their loved ones who have been illegally extradited to Syria.

 

The Syrian authorities maintain a complete blackout on this matter. On July 22, 2002, the Syrian Minister of the Interior met in Damascus with a delegation of the Committee of the Families and promised to provide them with information within two to three months on each of the 174 individual cases that were submitted to him (cf. list at the end of this document).  To date, more than two years after that promise, the families have not heard back from the Minister. On November 2, 2002, and after having arranged for a meeting with the Syrian Minister, the families were turned back at the border.

 

The Lebanese Intelligence Services, acting under orders from the Syrian regime, continue to actively harass and blackmail the families. For example, in 2000 the Lebanese government demanded that some of the families sign affidavits certifying the deaths of their loved ones held in Syria under the threat of cutting off their Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid benefits. Some of the detainees who were in fact declared dead have since turned up alive after being released.

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 Lebanese Detainee in Syria:              JIHAD GEORGE EID

 

 

Jihad EID was born on April 29, 1970. He is both a student in Management Information Technology Systems and a Corporal in the Lebanese Army. He was called to serve on the Hadath (Beirut) frontline on October 13, 1990, when Syrian troops entered the area.

 

On that day, October 13, 1990, Jihad EID was posted to the Al-Ayyass building, west of Saint Theresa’s Hospital in Hadath. With the Syrian troops arriving to the area, he left his position in the building with his friend Claude JITTI. Both men wearing their military fatigues, they sought refuge in the nearest shelter located in the Abou-Jaoudeh building, where many civilians were hiding from the shelling.

 

As the Syrian military began searching buildings and shelters looking for Lebanese Army soldiers, the two Lebanese soldiers were discovered in the shelter and arrested in front of the residents who beseeched the Syrian soldiers to let them go.

 

However, the area was under intense shelling and the two Lebanese soldiers, along with the Syrian soldiers transporting them in custody, were hit by a shell. The Syrian soldiers were instantly killed. Claude JITTI was seriously wounded and evacuated by Lebanese Red Cross paramedics from the Baabda sector. Before dying, Claude told the paramedics that he was with Jihad Eid who had been wounded in the leg and rescued by the Red Crescent.

 

The following day, October 14, 1990, Jihad EID’s family learns what had happened from eye witnesses and goes on a search of all city hospitals looking for him, but to no avail. In the course of its search, the family learns that Jihad had first spent a night in a Hezbollah center (Al Marija School), and then was transferred to another Hezbollah position (Cite Sportive) before being handed in to the Syrian Army Command.

 

Jihad EID was detained for 4 days with several Lebanese soldiers at the Syrian Intelligence Services center at the Beau Rivage Hotel in Beirut. On October 18, 1990, Jihad EID and other Lebanese soldiers were transferred to the detention center in Anjar (Syrian Intelligence Services center in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon).

 

On the intervention of former Minister Elie HOBEIKA, two individuals detained at the same center in Anjar were released. One of the two individuals, a resident of Ain Roummaneh, confirmed having been held with several Lebanese soldiers, including Jihad EID.

 

Jihad EID was then transferred to the Palestine Section, the Investigation Center in Syria that was headed at the time by General Mustapha AL-TAJER. The family of Jihad EID began then a series of contacts in an attempt to have him released:

 

On April 2, 1991, they EID family meets with Lt. Dergham YOUNES, member of the Coordination Committee of the Inspector General Office. Lt. YOUNES gives them a letter of recommendation addressed to his friend, Major Jilal AL-HAYEK of the Military Inspections Bureau in Syria, and asking the latter to “Take care of this matter”.

 

The next day, Jihad EID’s parents make the trip to Syria to visit with some friends where they also meet members of the AL-NEHME family who tell them that the detention of their son in Syria will probably be denied, but offer to help them. Later on that same day, Jihad EID’s family goes as planned to meet Major Jilal AL-HAYEK to whom they deliver the letter of recommendation from Lt. YOUNES. Major AL-HAYEK instructs his assistant with the task of finding out if Jihad EID was indeed still detained at the Palestine Section. Whereas the assistant did immediately confirm by telephone that Jihad EID was detained there, and also informed the family of this finding, Major AL-HAYEK promptly denied the veracity of the information.

 

The next day, April 3, 1991, the EID family, accompanied by a member of the AL-NEHME family (who had offered to help), pays a visit to the Syrian Colonel Ahmad AN-NAASAN, an examining judge from the Military Investigations Department. The judge, displaying an absolute lack of interest in helping the EID family, addressed himself in very harsh language to Jihad’s mother Sonia EID, who fainted. The Colonel went on to say: “Sister, you should be grateful to God that Jihad is with us and in good health, but he is denied any visits and is not allowed any meeting whatsoever because people like him are the men of General AOUN, and only a decision by President Hafez El-ASSAD will set them free”. He further added: “It is strange that the Lebanese authorities themselves never claim them”.

 

In the end, Sonia EID managed to obtain permission for a single “visit” to her son at the Palestine Section, on condition that she keeps it secret and that she does not speak to him. She did see him, as he was led to an interrogation session along with other individuals. They were topless, shackled to one another in a single file with their hands behind their backs. Jihad EID was the seventh in line and he limped because of the injury to his leg.

 

On Army Day on August 3, 1995, and having exhausted all avenues, Jihad’s father George EID wrote the following letter to General Emile LAHOUD, then Commander-In-Chief of the Lebanese Army:

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

General Emile Lahoud

Commander-in-Chief of the Army

 

Greetings,

It is with great sadness that we, parents and families of Lebanese Army military personnel who have been detained since October 13, 1990, witness the passing of Army Day for the fifth year in a row while our children are absent from their barracks because they are in the prisons of sisterly Syria. Our children are from all Lebanese regions, but not one official of the Lebanese State has put forward requests to bring them home, not one official has given us a single answer to our many questions, and not one official has dared ask the Syrian authorities about this matter. We have ample evidence of their presence (in Syria) even though everyone denies their existence.

 

Commander,

The officers who issued the orders have been released thanks to many intercessions on their behalf, but the soldiers who were merely executing these orders remain incarcerated in their jails where they are subjected to torture and inhumane treatment because no one claims them. Because the officers were taken away from their offices, no one can deny their detention. But the soldiers were taken away from the frontlines while carrying out the orders of their superiors. The reason given to us to justify a denial of their existence is that they were killed. But where are their bodies? They couldn’t have just evaporated into thin air nor could their clothes have vanished into space. How could there be no trace of them?

All those who were killed have been found, their remains were found even on the most dangerous fronts, such as Dahr El-Wahash. We looked and looked in all the hospitals of West Beirut and East Beirut to try and identify their bodies, even of those who were mutilated. Then all those whose bodies were found were buried. We know from Syrian sources that those were not killed are in prison in Syria, that there are many such detainees, and that their liberation depends on a broad decision by the Syrian president Hafez EL-ASSAD. The question for which we find no answer is: Why are they still held prisoners? What are their crimes? What is the crime of their parents to let them die of anguish or sickness? Yes, indeed General, some parents have died without being able to see or visit their children. Some parents have undergone open-heart surgery, others are diabetic or suffer from nervous disorders, headaches, and other chronic illnesses.

 

Five years have passed, and fathers no longer hear the word “Dad” from their missing sons, and mothers patiently wait to hug and hold their sons in their arms. This is a tragedy that the families of the detainees live day in and day out, always worrying about the fate of their children.

 

Many officials have repeatedly shut their doors in our face as if this matter is of no concern to them. They are afraid of dealing with this issue. For more than a year now, we have unsuccessfully tried to meet with you in order for us to communicate to you all the information that we have on this national and humanitarian matter that concerns you as much as it concerns us, since you are the father of all the military in the Lebanese Army. Which is why we bring this letter forward, hoping it will resonate in you and that your wise leadership will take this matter paternally to heart, so that our children could come home again. And if it is impossible for you to set them free, perhaps you could perhaps see to it that their families are able to visit them.

 

Sincerely,

Beirut, August 3, 1995

----------------------------------------------

 

Following this letter, an emissary visited the EID family on August 29, 1995 informing them that the High Command of the Lebanese Army has obtained new information about the whereabouts of 17 Lebanese military personnel seized on October 13, 1990.

 

This is the description of the emissary’s visit, as related by George EID in a letter he sent to General LAHOUD on September 12, 1995:

 

 

 

(After your emissary’s visit that confirmed to us your interest in this matter),

 

General Emile Lahoud, Commander-In-Chief of the Lebanese Army,

Greetings,

(…)

On the morning of August 29, 1995 we received your emissary* who informed us that the High Command of the Army has obtained new information according to which 17 military personnel of the Lebanese Army are detained in Syrian prisons, after transiting through the Anjar Center, and among whom is an officer. They have been detained since October 13, 1990.

 

Finally, and after long years of categorical rejection and denial, Syria has admitted the existence of (Lebanese) detainees inside its prisons. This information did not surprise us, since we were certain of that fact, even though Lebanese officials continuously tried to tell us otherwise.

In addition to the information on the 17 military detainees, they also told us that you had personally handled our letter of August 3, 1995, that you tried to promptly bring a resolution to our problem, and that they were sent by the Army High Command to inform us of these facts.

 

Sir,

It is thanks to your efforts and your intervention, and on behalf of all the detainees’ parents and families, please accept our gratitude (…)

 

Which is why we rely on your courage and your honesty, and we allow ourselves to put our faith in you as the only responsible party for the fate of our children – your children – because you are the only one of the people in government who has the courage and whose only goal is to serve others. Indeed, Sir, you are the only one to understand our pain (…)

 

Beirut, September 12, 1995.

George EID

 

* The emissaries were Officer Cadet FARHAT, accompanied by Chief Warrant Officer Karam NASRALLAH, from the Security Bureau of Baabda, Tel. 457558 / 456978 / 468931

------------------------------------------------------------

 

Pursuant to this letter, George EID was summoned at 9:00 AM on September 20, 1995 to the Military Security Section where he met Major ABOU CHAKRA. The latter interrogated George EID about the thank-you letter that he sent (cf. text cited above), and George EID explained that Officer Cadet FARHAT and Chief Warrant Officer NASRALLAH had visited him and brought him information. Major ABOU CHAKRA then asked for some time in order to bring in Officer Cadet FARHAT, and asked the family to give him information about their son’s detention. He also promised to get them additional news. Two days later, he visited the family and completely denied the whole episode, saying that Officer Cadet FARHAT was totally unaware of what had happened, that he had never visited them at their home (even though the meeting took place in front of several witnesses and he had left at the EID home a note with his own handwriting.)

 

George EID then asked Major ABOU CHAKRA to have Officer Cadet FARHAT testify in a military court, at which point ABOU CHAKRA smiled and told him to forget the whole thing.

 

In 1996, a former detainee who had been released visited the EID family and related to them that he had been detained with Jihad. He further stated that Jihad had had his leg amputated because of his injury of October 13, 1990.

 

The family has since tirelessly continued its contacts, still without obtaining permission to visit Jihad, even though several individuals have confirmed his detention in Syria.

 

For example:

-          General Mozher FARES, former director of the Palestine Section (prior to General Mustapha AL-TAJER), stated: “I have spoken with General AL-TAJER and asked him for a visit permit (…); It is possible to visit him very soon”.

-          Mohamed ARABI, a friend of General Mozher FARES: “If you had come before Christmas, it would have been much easier because General MOZHER headed the Palestine Section at the time, and we could have visited Jihad immediately.”

-          Minister Nicolas FATTOUCHE and Hassan AZZEDINE have also confirmed in front of witnesses that Jihad EID and other Lebanese military personnel remain in detention in Syrian prisons.

 

After becoming President of the Republic, General Emile LAHOUD finally received Sonia EID, who since 1997 had become president of the Committee of the Families of Lebanese Detainees in Syria. The President asked her for a complete file on her son Jihad, promising a rapid answer on this case.

 

Yet, and two years after sending the requested file, the EID family continues to wait for President LAHOUD’s promised answer. Worse yet, the family continues to be harassed with psychological pressure and blackmail, with the objective of forcing them to cease any activity on behalf of the Lebanese who are illegally detained in Syrian jails.

 

The most shocking of these pressures was the request by the Army at the end of 2000 summoning the families of the detained military to sign death certificates for their detained loved ones, short of which the families will see their social security benefits cut off. Many obviously refused to sign, having established through their own means and beyond doubt the facts of their loved ones’ detention. In fact, the mother of one of the detainees who had been asked to sign the death certificate of her son saw her son suddenly “reappear” three weeks later after being released from a Syrian jail.

 

Several detainees who have been freed from Syria’s jails between 1991 and 2000 have confirmed the detention in Syria of individuals who had been taken in custody in Lebanon on October 13, 1990, according to the latest information from the Tadmur (Palmyra) prison.
Lebanese Detainee in Syria

 

Johnny Salem Nassif

 

 

Born in 1974, Johnny NASSIF is a Corporal in the Lebanese Army and has been illegally detained in Syria since his abduction by Syrian Armed Forces in Dahr El-Wahash, Lebanon, on October 13, 1990.

 

Whereas Lebanese authorities today assert that all persons who were reported missing during the war in Lebanon were actually killed during the war, Johnny NASSIF’s family is certain that he remains in detention in Syria.

 

In point of fact, Johnny NASSIF was seen soon after his abduction in a convoy of Syrian military vehicles that were transporting Lebanese detainees en route to Damascus, Syria.

 

The Lebanese Army High Command to which Johnny reported as a soldier has also admitted that he was not killed in action during the fighting that opposed the Lebanese Army to the Syrian Army on October 13, 1990. (See Lebanese Army memorandum in Appendix 1, p. 12).

 

In 1994, Johnny’s family even managed to obtain a visitor’s permit, but the visit was ultimately never allowed. (See Visitor’s Permit, Appendix 2, p. 14).

 

According to her own testimony, on the day Johnny’s mother was due to visit her son in his place of detention in Syria, the prison official in charge sent a guard to bring Johnny from his cell, only to quickly realize that Johnny’s family should not have obtained a visitor’s permit because he was one of several military prisoners seized on October 13, 1990 and whose detention is secret. He promptly reneged on his word by saying he had no idea who Johnny NASSIF was.
APPENDIX 1: Lebanese Army Memorandum

 

 

(Copy of original Arabic document)

 

Translation:

High Command of the Army

Staff Headquarters

Classification 881-1

Wire registered under No. 9399/AAD/MM

From:  General LAHOUD, Commander-In-Chief of the Army

To:

Notice No. 2/1 One-page only

 

1. For informational purposes, the following individuals were deceased on 10/13/1990:

 

8622024

Gerges MOUSSA

Sergeant

Battalion 102

8820553

Roland SALAME

Corporal

Battalion 102

37776

Charbel HANINI

Sergeant-Major

Headquarters

39546

Khaled HAMMOUD

Sergeant

Military Police

28712

Habib NASR

Warrant Officer

Headquarters

8621786

Nawaf ESSEBAALI

Corporal

Headquarters

 

 2. We request Administrative Services to notify the Army Staff of the family status of the above-mentioned military personnel and the addresses of their families.

 

3. The names of the following military personnel are to be deleted from the Wire No. 8349/AAD/MM dated 11/16/1990, after it was determined that they were not deceased.

 

XX20158

Johnny NASSIF

Corporal

Battalion 102

Number N/A

Marwan EL-ZOGHBI

Sergeant-Major

Battalion 101

44067

Youssef EL-HASBANI

Sergeant-Major

Presidential Guard

48796

Joseph AZAR

Sergeant-Major

Presidential Guard

8520405

Elie HADDAD

Sergeant-Major

Presidential Guard

8621565

Elias AOUN

Corporal

Presidential Guard

 

Beirut, 12/27/1990

By Order of Brigade General Al-Tannir, Joint Chief of Staff

 

APPENDIX 2: Visitor’s Permit – Johnny NASSIF

 

 

(Copy of original Arabic document)

 

Translation:

Syrian Arab Republic

Ministry of the Interior

Internal Security Forces – Command Headquarters

Prison Administration

Attn: Director of the Damascus Central Prison

 

The individual herein named (Violette Johnny NASSIF), a Lebanese national, is hereby authorized to visit with the prisoner (Johnny Salem NASSIF), incarcerated in the Damascus Central Prison, section: (      ).

Permit is for one visit only according to prison regulations.

 

Damascus, March 2, 1994

General Bassim EL-TAEF, Director of the Prison Administration.
Lebanese Detainee in Syria

 

Tanious Kamil EL HABR

 

 

I.                   Detainee or Arrested Individual’s Personal Information

 

1. Last Name:                                      AL-HABR

2. First Name:                                      Tanious Kamil

3. Gender:                                          Male

4. Date of Birth or Age (at abduction):     1965

5. Nationality(ies):                                Lebanese

6. Civil Register:                                   No. 55 – Ain Al-Halzoun

7. Profession or Activity (if there is

reason to believe it is linked to the

detention or the arrest:                     Sergeant in the Lebanese Army

8. Permanent Residence:                       Kamil Abdo EL-HABR (father)

                                                        Dekwaneh, Al-Kharroub Street

                                                        Antoine Al-Soukhen Blvd.

                                                        LEBANON

 

II.                Circumstances of the Abduction

 

1. Date of Abduction:                            10/13/1990

2. Place of Abduction (Provide all details): Aain Saade Villa – Lebanon

3. Services that carried or presumed to have carried out the abduction:

                                                                                    Syrian Army

4. Was a warrant or other official document presented? No

5. Authority issuing the warrant of other document:

6. Applicable law (if known):

 

 

 

III.             Detention

 

1. Date of Detention:                   Incarcerated in Syria on October 17, 1990

2. Duration of Detention (If not known, provide estimate): Not provided to kin

3. Services holding the individual: The Syrian Prisons Administration

4. Place of Detention (including all transfers up to present place): Held first at the Syrian Intelligence Services Center in Anjar (Bekaa Valley, Lebanon). 

Transferred to the Palestine Section (Damascus, Syria), then to the Mazze Prison (Damascus, Syria) where he was allowed visits. Currently held in secret detention.

5. Authority ordering the detention: The Syrian military justice system (Military Examining Judge: Colonel Ahmad AN-NAASAN)

6. Facts cited by the authorities justifying the detention: Undisclosed.

7. Applicable Laws (if known): Unknown

 

IV. Describe the circumstances of the abduction and/or the detention

 

Tanious Kamil AL-HABR was arrested in Lebanon by the Syrian Army upon the entry of the latter into East-Beirut on October 13, 1990. An estimated 200 Lebanese nationals were arrested on that day by the Syrian Army and taken across the border into Syria. Most have been released, but some, like Tanious Kamil Al-HABR, were never released and remain detained to this day.

 

Please describe the precise motives for which you think this deprivation of liberty is arbitrary or illegal:

 

Tanious Kamil AL HABR was abducted in Lebanon and transferred to Syria without an extradition request. No public trial was ever conducted and his family knows of no charges filed against him and does not know the duration of his detention.

 

V.  Please provide an account of the measures taken in the country, including internal appeals made to the judicial or administrative authorities, to obtain an admission of the detention, and if so, the outcome of such appeals. Alternatively, please provide the reasons why these measures were not followed up or were not implemented.

 

The Lebanese and Syrian authorities have exhibited a total disregard for the requests of the families of the Lebanese detained in Syria.
Lebanese Detainee in Syria

 

1.1.1      Bechara Tanious ROUMIEH

 

The following is a translation of an Arabic document submitted by the family of the detainee in January 2001.

 

Bechara Tanious ROUMIEH, born in 1962, has been detained in Syria for 23 years.

 

In March 1978, Bechara was arrested along with two of his friends by the Syrian Intelligence Services. The two friends are Daniel A., now deceased, and George L. K., a Sergeant Major in the Lebanese Army. They were arrested in the city of Ryiak, in the district of Jazira, as they were riding in a white Volkswagen matriculated under the name of Roukoz Bechara ROUMIEH. They were taken to the Syrian Intelligence Services Center located in the School of the Pères Blancs (…).  At the time, the officer in charge of the Intelligence Bureau was one Abou Ali. When Bechara’s mother learned of his arrest, she went to the center to see her son (…), but Abou Ali told her he was not there. The mother then went to see community leaders and asked for their help. Two individuals who had good relations with Abou Ali accompanied her back to the center, namely Ibrahim ABOU ZEID who died later, and one Khairallah K.

 

Accompanied by the two individuals, Bechara’s mother is permitted to see her son. She then returned to the village to seek a means to get her son released. In the meantime, Officer Abou Ali released George K, who at the time was a civilian, and Daniel A, also a civilian. In addition, Gerges Boutros A., a Syrian national, was also released after having denounced Bechara for an alleged affiliation with the PNL (Liberal National Party).  Bechara ROUMIEH’s family requested that an investigation be launched and that Gerges Boutros A. be interrogated because of his close involvement in this matter.

 

Bechara’s mother obtained her visitor’s permits in the city of Ryiak from Miss Noura HALLIT, the Acting Mayor of Ablah, in exchange for money since Miss HALLIT had excellent relations with the Syrian officers in Ryiak and in Chtaura. Bechara’s mother stayed in Ryiak for a period of a week waiting for the release of her son. Her permanent place of residence being in Beirut and not in Ryiak.

 

Within a period of 2 weeks, Bechara is taken to Chtaura, then to Anjar, and on to Masnaa. When his mother wanted a visitor’s permit, she would have to obtain an authorization from the Syrian Intelligence Services Center in Chtaura, specifically from Captain Mohammad LAHHAM and Officer ASSAAD. At the time, Captain Ghazi KENAAN and Officer Muhammad GHANEM were in charge of the Chtaura center. Bechara’s mother, brothers and sisters continued to visit him in Masnaa from March 1978 until 1979 (for a period of 1 year). At their last visit, they were denied the visit. When they asked why, they were told that he was transferred to Mazze (Damascus, Syria) to be interrogated, and that he will be back in a week. The Syrian Army has been saying this for the past 23 years. Bechara’s mother has been to all Syrian jails and was never allowed to see her son.

 

At the time, the war between the Syrians and the Lebanese was going through different stages. In 1986, the first piece of information suggesting that Bechara was still alive in Mazze came from Lebanese detainees who had been released upon the intervention of the Chief of the Lebanese Forces (militia), Mr. Elie HOBEIKA, and Mr. Jean GHANEM who was working for the release of Lebanese detainees in Syria.  Bechara’s brother spoke with Dr. Jean GHANEM at the General Hospital of Baabda, who told him that Bechara would be back, along with his fellow detainees in Syria, after the Christmas and New Year holidays. Then the 1986 events between Samir GEAGEA and Elie HOBEIKA took place. 

 

(The ROUMIEH family has appended to this file a photocopy of a newspaper clip from the January 1, 1986 issue of the daily AN-NAHAR entitled “A Christmas gift from Syria: The liberation of 12 detainees”.)

 

Among the individuals who were released in 1986, many told Bechara’s family, Mr. Elie HOBEIKA, and Dr. Samir GEAGEA that Bechara was in the ALOUE prison where he has been for 6 years. After one year with visits, one year without any information about his whereabouts, Bechara had been detained for 8 years.

 

In 1994, Hussein M. E. told his mother who was visiting him in prison that there was one individual from Riyak by the name of Bechara ROUMIEH who was held for 18 years and who had not seen his family since 1979. Hussein told his mother “Please, Mother, tell them that their son would like to see them. He does not understand why they don’t come to visit him. Tell them discreetly to come and visit him, but be careful that the Syrian Army learns nothing of this, because then they would forbid you from visiting me.” Hussein’s mother promised to do what she could.

 

When HK (the detainee’s mother) got back into the taxi that brought her to visit her son in Syria, she asked the taxi driver A.A., who died in 1997 and who was from Riyak and had a son also held in Syria, about the ROUMIEH family. The driver replied to her that this was Bechara ROUMIEH whose family lives in Beirut since 1976. She then asked him to relay the information to us so that we go and see Bechara in prison because he is asking for us and wonders why we don’t visit him or care for him. A.A. forwarded the information through Elie R. J. known as J., also from Riyak who sent it in turn with Eugene R., who now works at the Baalbeck station of EDL (Electricité du Liban). Eugene visited George K., Bechara’s cousin, to tell him what was learned from the detainee Hussein M. E., namely that Bechara was alive, that he was detained at the Mazze prison, upper floor, cell #2, and that his prison matriculation number was 14.

 

George K. then visited Bechara’s family to tell them what had happened and that they should go visit him in Syria. Bechara’s mother and his aunt, Rose K., then visited Hussein M.E.’s mother who confirmed the information to them and asked them not to publicize the story so that she is not prevented from visiting her son. They returned to Beirut to prepare food, clothing, and money and go see Bechara with Hussein’s mother a month later.

 

Unfortunately, the story broke out and everyone was talking about the reappearance of Bechara after 18 years in Syrian prisons. When the family prepared to go see him, more than 7 people from the ROUMIEH family went to see Hussein M.E.’s mother first. The latter became afraid and said she knew no one by the name of Bechara ROUMIEH, and that she did not have a son detained in Syria. Her son was later released in 1998 (…)

 

Case Summary

·         8 years after his disappearance, and after the wave of releases of 1986, several released individuals indicated that Bechara was with them in the Mazze prison, upper floor, cell #2, Matriculation #14.

·         During the term of President Hrawi, nine people were discreetly released in 1994, and they reported to us that Bechara was with them in cell #2 when they left the prison and returned to Lebanon.

·         The AL HAYAT daily, issue of March 6, 1998, page 3 (…) reported that he was among the people released.

·         In 1998, former detainees who were released from Syrian prisons reported that Bechara was held with them under No. 14. Several detainees were ready to testify that they were not being subjected to any pressures and did not run the risk of being returned to prison in Syria.

 

(The family has the names of all the witnesses)

 

Of those who helped us try to have him released:

·         Former President Elias HRAWI

·         Minister Mohsen DALLOUL

·         Minister Khalil HRAWI

·         Minister Nicolas FATTOUCHE

·         Minister Elie HOBEIKA

·         Former MP Jean GHANEM

 

We thank all those who have helped us, former detainees and people of good will, in particular His Eminence Cardinal SFEIR. We refuse to give up on this matter, and we reject the idea of denying Bechara’s presence in Syria. If he is dead, we demand that his remains be returned to us so we can bury him. If he is alive, we demand his release because we have not seen him in 23 years.
 

Lebanese detained in Syria

 

Shamel Hussein KENAAN

 

 

 

Personal Data :

 

Date of Birth: 05 January 1959

Place of Birth:         South Lebanon – Registration N°#186 Shebaa

Name of Mother:      Ghalia Daher

Date of Abduction:   18 June 1986

 

Case Summary:

 

Shamel was a Corporal in the Lebanese Army, having volunteered in 1978. His military ID# is 35052. He disappeared on his way to work on the road between his village Shebaa in South Lebanon and Beirut. He was married to Jaleela Daher who died of cancer six months before his disappearance. He has one daughter named Seema who was born in 1985.

 

Last time seen:

 

According to his brother in Lebanon, an ex-prisoner saw Shamel in 1994 at the Palestine Section prison in Syria.

Also his family received information in Sept. 2000 that he is now detained in Saidnaya prison in Syria.
Lebanese Detainee in Syria

 

Ali ABDALLAH

 

IV.              Detainee or Arrested Individual’s Personal Information

 

1. Last Name:                                      ABDALLAH

2. First Name:                                      Ali

3. Gender:                                          Male

4. Date of Birth or Age (at abduction):     1965

5. Nationality (ies):                               Lebanese

6. Civil Register:                                   No. 313 – AITAROUN

7. Profession or Activity (if there is

reason to believe it is linked to the

detention or the arrest:                    

8. Permanent Residence:                       Aitaroun, Bint Jbeil District

                                                        LEBANON

 

V.                 Circumstances of the Abduction

 

1. Date of Abduction:                                     21 July 1981

2. Place of Abduction (Provide all details):          COLA Rotary, Mazraa, Beirut

3. Services that carried or are presumed to have carried out the abduction:

                                                                  Syrian Intelligence Services

4. Was a warrant or other official document presented? No

5. Authority issuing the warrant of other document:

6. Applicable law (if known):

 

 

VI.              Detention

 

1. Date of Detention:                   Precise date of transfer to Syria is unknown

2. Duration of Detention (If not known, provide estimate): Not provided to kin

3. Services holding the individual: The Syrian Prisons Administration

4. Place of Detention (including all transfers up to present place):

Currently held in secret detention. But he was tracked in the Tadmor (Palmyra) prison in 2000.

5. Authority ordering the detention: Unknown

6. Facts cited by the authorities justifying the detention: Undisclosed

7. Applicable Laws (if known): Unknown

 

IV. Describe the circumstances of the abduction and/or the detention

 

Three days after his arrest, his family found out he was being held in a Syrian Intelligence Services Center in Lebanon.

Syrian officers Major Hussein WATFA and Corporal Rustom GHAZALI have admitted to his detention in Syria.

 

In 1993, a former detainee released from the Tadmor (Palmyra, Syria) prison stated that he was held with Ali ABDALLAH.

 

In May 2000, a Lebanese national who was released from the Tadmor prison testified to his family about the presence of Ali ABDALLAH in that prison (Fifth Court). His family went to the prison where they were told that Ali ABDALLAH was indeed being held there, and that he needed clothes and food. However, no visitation rights were granted.

 

Please describe the precise motives for which you think this deprivation of liberty is arbitrary or illegal

 

Ali ABDALLAH was abducted in Lebanon and transferred to Syria without any request for his extradition. No public trial was ever conducted, the family knows of no charges filed against him, and does not know the duration of his detention. He is not allowed any visits.

 

V.  Please provide an account of the measures taken in the country, including internal appeals made to the judicial or administrative authorities, to obtain an admission of the detention, and if so, the outcome of such appeals. Alternatively, please provide the reasons why these measures were not followed up or were not implemented.

 

The Lebanese and Syrian authorities have exhibited a total disregard for the requests of the families of the Lebanese detained in Syria.
Lebanese detained in Syria

 

Yousef Daoud AOUN

 

 

(Appeal from Amnesty International January 2003)

 

Lebanese youth held without trial for 20 years

Yousef Daoud 'Aoun was a 17-year old teen when Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982. On 3 June 1982 he and his friend were arrested near the town of Seghbine in the Eastern Bekaa region by members of the Syrian Nationalist Social Party. They were handed over to the Syrian Military Intelligence reportedly on charges of belonging to the "Lebanese Forces" militia which fought against the Syrian forces in Lebanon. Since then Yousef Daoud 'Aoun has been held without trial in a prison in Syria.

Yousef Daoud 'Aoun's parents visited him regularly for many years in Tadmur Prison until 1999 when they were refused any further visits. It is not known where Yousef Daoud 'Aoun is now being held, since large parts of Tadmur Prison were closed down in 2001 and many political detainees were transferred to other prisons.

On 22 July 2002, Yousef Daoud 'Aoun's parents traveled with 50 other relatives of Lebanese believed to be detained in Syria to Damascus, where they were received by the Syrian Minister of the Interior, Major General 'Ali Hammud. During the meeting the Minister promised to answer their queries about Lebanese detainees held in Syria within three months. However, no answer has been received.

Please write, asking the Syrian authorities where Yousef Daoud 'Aoun is being held. Call for his immediate release as he has been held for a long period without trial. Seek assurances that Yousef Daoud 'Aoun is well and not being subjected to torture or ill-treatment. Call for all information about the detention of Lebanese in Syria to be given to their relatives immediately. Send appeals to: His Excellency President Bashar al-Assad, President of the Republic, Presidential Palace, Abu Rummaneh, Al-Rashid Street, Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic. Fax: +963 11 332 3410; and to: His Excellency Major General 'Ali Hammud, Minister of the Interior, Ministry of Interior, Merjeh Circle, Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic, Fax: +963 11 222 3428
List of Lebanese detainees and victims of enforced disappearances delivered to the Syrian Minister of Interior 22 July 2002

 

Number         Name/Occupation                          Date of Detention

1-    Ali Issa – Lebanese army – 26 February 1999

2-    Mohammed Al-Shoufi – Lebanese army – 3 March 1999

3-    Izzat Yassine – Lebanese army – 13 September 1999

4-    Najib Yousef Jaramani – Mechanic and bus driver – 24 January 1997

5-    Rashid Hassan – February 1997

6-    Abdullah Ahmed Shehadeh – Teacher – 8 September 1997

7-    Bassam Jerjes Semaan – 1996

8-    Ali Farhat – Lebanese army – 1995

9-    George Ayyoub Shalaweet – 30 March 1994

10-                       Nimr Al-Naddaf – Corporal, Lebanese army – 27 July 1994

11-                       Nabil Jerjes Semaan – 5 June 1994

12-                       Toni Jerjes Tamer – Barber – 7 July 1993

13-                       Joseph Amin Houweiss – 2 June 1992

14-                       Milad Shehadeh Barakat – 19 April 1992

15-                       Khadijeh Yihya Boukhari – Singer – 28 April 1992

16-                       Dani Mansourati – 9 May 1992

17-                       Boutros Khawand – Phalange Party – 15 September 1992

18-                       George Aziz Mahfoud – 19 December 1991

19-                       George Abou Halloun – Lieutenant, Lebanese army – 13 October 1990

20-                       John Joseph Khouri – Lebanese army - 13 October 1990

21-                       Joseph Azar – Lebanese army - 13 October 1990

22-                       Fouad Asaker – Lebanese army - 13 October 1990

23-                       Marwan Fares – Corporal, Lebanese army – 13 October 1990

24-                       Johnny Salem Nassif – Corporal, Lebanese army - 13 October 1990

25-                       Michel Jerjes Al-Bateh – Corporal, Lebanese army – 13 October 1990

26-                       Adel Yousef Doumit – Lebanese army - 13 October 1990

27-                       George Mtanious Bachour – Corporal, Lebanese army – 13 October 1990

28-                       Jack Hanna Nakhoul – Lebanese army - 13 October 1990

29-                       John Mekhayel Nakhleh – Lebanese army - 13 October 1990

30-                       Tanious Camille Al-Habr – Lebanese army - 13 October 1990

31-                       Mekhayel Yousef Al-Hasbani – Lebanese army - 13 October 1990

32-                       Marwan Riyad Masha’alani – Corporal, Lebanese army–13 October 1990

33-                       Antoine Zakhour Zakhour – Lebanese army - 13 October 1990

34-                       Robert Abou Serhal – Lieutenant, Lebanese army – 13 October 1990

35-                       Tanious Charbel Zougheib – Lieutenant, Lebanese army–13 October 1990

36-                       Elie Karim Wehbeh – Lebanese army - 13 October 1990

37-                       Sayed Shahid Batour – Lebanese army - 13 October 1990

38-                       Elie Saad Al-Haddad – Corporal, Lebanese army – 13 October 1990

39-                       Joseph Dib al-Aqiqi – Corporal, Lebanese army – 13 October 1990

40-                       Naji Elias Al-Hindi – Corporal, Lebanese army – 13 October 1990

41-                       Jihad George Eid – Corporal, Lebanese army – 13 October 1990

42-                       Elias Yousef Aoun – Corporal, Lebanese army – 13 October 1990

43-                       Milad Yousef Al-Alam – Lebanese army - 13 October 1990

44-                       Doumit Sleiman Ibrahim – Lebanese army - 13 October 1990

45-                       George Milad Al-Sheikh – Lebanese army - 13 October 1990

46-                       Khalid Moustafa Khodr – Lebanese army - 13 October 1990

47-                       Antonin Father Albert Sherfan – Maronite Priest - 13 October 1990

48-                       Antonin Father Sleiman Abou Khalil – Maronite Priest - 13 October 1990

49-                       Ra’eef Fouad Dagher – 6 June 1990

50-                       Elie Khalil Mansour – 10 June 1990

51-                       Jamal Abdel-Salam Yassine Beiruti – 10 March 1989

52-                       Abdel-Hafiz Ouleiwan – 1 February 1989

53-                       Moustafa Kanaan – 2 February 1989

54-                       Milad Naoum Al-Khouri – 16 May 1989

55-                       Khalid Sa’eed Farhat – 6 June 1989

56-                       George Emile Zaher – 7 August 1989

57-                       Claude August Gerard – 4 October 1989

58-                       Khalil Damaj – 18 July 1988

59-                       Toni Yousef Mtatious Matar – 25 December 1988

60-                       Elias Ibrahim Jerjes – 1988

61-                       Alam Al-Din Mehanna Hassan – 6 October 1987

62-                       Samir Fouad Al-Sayegh – 8 September 1987

63-                       Khalil Amin Abou-Zaki – 15 June 1987

64-                       Toufic Salim Al-Jamal – 24 July 1986

65-                       Darar Abdel-Qader – 6 March 1986

66-                       George Adib Al-Ghannaj – 6 January 1986

67-                       Shamil Houssein Kanaan – Soldier, Lebanese army – 16 June 1986

68-                       Ahmed Abdel-Rassoul Dbouk – 6 November 1986

69-                       Jirji Malik Hanna – ‘Lebanese University’ professor – 10 September 1985

70-                       Rashid Ahmed Al-Khalil – 1985

71-                       Choukrallah Touma – Policeman – 13 February 1985

72-                       Jack Abi-Mrad – Policeman – 13 February 1985

73-                       Albert Nichola – Policeman – 13 February 1985

74-                       George Joseph Al-Asmar – 9 February 1985

75-                       Sa’eed Fouad Al-Kabbaz – March 1985

76-                       Saba Naja Asaker- 18 April 1985

77-                       Habib Nabil Abi-Abdallah – 25 April 1985

78-                       Quzhayya Karam Dagher – 28 April 1985

79-                       Robert Marwan Abou Sleiman – Policeman – 28 April 1985

80-                       Florence Michel Raad- Journalist – 1985

81-                       Claude Hanna Al-Khouri – Soldier, Lebanese army – 20 June 1985

82-                       Jerjes Elias Al-Qassis – 20 June 1985

83-                       Elias Nichola Al-Shayeb – 19 August 1985

84-                       Victor Bani-Farhat – August 1985

85-                       Tanious Jerjes Elias – 19 August 1985

86-                       Jerjes Nimr Jerjes – Soldier, Lebanese army – November 1985

87-                       Toufic Fouad Al-Fawwal – 9 December 1985

88-                       Ibrahim Khalil Haddad – 9 July 1985

89-                       Malik Yassine Agha Kalthoum – 1984

90-                       Amin Gabriel Al-Dik – 18 February 1984

91-                       Joseph Jamil Phares – 22 February 1984

92-                       Elias Michel Abdel-Nour – 8 March 1984

93-                       Nabih Yousef Is’haak – 31 March 1984

94-                       Yousef Nakhleh Al-Kallas – 26 June 1984

95-                       Ibrahim Melhem Jabr – 12 April 1984

96-                       Samir Jerjes Nasrallah – Corporal, Lebanese army – 26 June 1984

97-                       Omar Ahmed Khodr – 7 August 1984

98-                       Fouad Sawma Haddad – August 1984

99-                       Edward Sfeir – August 1984

100-                  George Qazzi – August 1984

101-                  Atta Mahmoud Al-Abdallah – 1984

102-                  Fadi Elie Ghoulam – 30 October 1984

103-                  Salman Ali Al-Ziz – November 1984

104-                  Karam Yousef Morkos – Musician – 21 November 1984

105-                  Ziad Yousef Morkos – Musician – 21 November 1984

106-                  Elie Abou-Nader – Musician – 21 November 1984

107-                  Elias Mama Saab – 1984

108-                  Adel Kamal Al-Zeeb – 17 December 1984

109-                  Cesar Elias Qaysar Eid – 22 January 1984

110-                  Mahmoud Jamil Al-Shami – 1983

111-                  Karim Maroun Shahla – 28 October 1983

112-                  Amer Ahmed Al-Turkoumani – 25 October 1983

113-                  Milad Habib Yousef – Soldier, Lebanese army – 29 August 1983

114-                  Raymond Yousef Kamel – 23 August 1983

115-                  Ali Mohamed Ahmed Houssein – 23 September 1983

116-                  Eid Antoine Sarkis – 10 February 1983

117-                  Arz Antoine Sarkis – 10 February 1983

118-                  Charbel Tanious Zougheib – 3 October 1983

119-                  Khaled Abdelatif Al-Kurdi – 15 December 1983

120-                  Salem Abdelatif Al-Kurdi – 15 December 1983

121-                  Riyad Abdel-Khaliq Al-Qarri – December 1983

122-                  Bassam Abdel-Rahman Al-Sabsabi – December 1983

123-                  Daoud Yousef Lahhoud – 24 January 1983

124-                  Riyad Yousef Geagea – 1983

125-                  Robert Badri Roukoz – February 1983

126-                  Joseph Nazih Al-Zarka – March 1983

127-                  Joseph Hanna Awad – 28 March 1983

128-                  Alfred Jerjes Al-Habr – September 1983

129-                  Toufic Rashid Saadeh (Steity) – September 1983

130-                  Maroun Yousef Al-Khouri – 7 September 1983

131-                  Mohamed Mahmoud Al-Sultan – 29 October 1983

132-                  Hisham Ramadan – Policeman – 29 October 1983

133-                  Yousef Salim Al-Gharib – Policeman – 3 November 1983

134-                  John Semaan Saliba – 21 December 1983

135-                  Antoine Semaan Saliba – 21 December 1983

136-                  George Mekhayel Awad – 22 October 1983

137-                  Issam Hassib Al-Ke’edy – 26 October 1983

138-                  Maroun Edward Mousallem – 4 September 1983

139-                  Elie Ibrahim Al-Sabbak – 3 September 1983

140-                  Hanna Mrad Sleiman – 1982

141-                  Amin Anis Ghandour – 1982

142-                  Houssein Khodr Umeirat – 1982

143-                  Joseph Daoud Aoun – 2 June 1982

144-                  Hassoun Amin Hassoun – 2 November 1982

145-                  George Elias Lahhoud – 2 November 1982

146-                  George Yousef Abi Nakad – 1982

147-                  Walid Mahmoud Zarqout – 1982

148-                  Edward Camille Al-Khouri – 16 July 1982

149-                  Antoine Ghalib Khazzaqah – 21 June 1982

150-                  Ali Moussa Al-Abdallah – July 1981

151-                  Rene Tannous Mouawwad – 20 November 1981

152-                  Kozhayya Farid Sheh’wan – 22 July 1980

153-                  Estephan Massoud Eskandar – 6 September 1979

154-                  Ahmed Mohamed Nassar – March 1979

155-                  Tanious Ibrahim Tayar – 27 May 1978

156-                  Abdel-Rida Chehdeh Barbish – 1978

157-                  Antoine Elias Tawil – 7 July 1978

158-                  Joseph Elias Saba’a – 7 July 1978

159-                  Stavro Elie Andriotti – 7 July 1978

160-                  Malki Yousef Shmeit – 7 July 1978

161-                  Nadim Merhi Merhi – 28 August 1978

162-                  Assaf Jerjes Roukoz Mrad – 22 September 1978

163-                  Bichara Tanious Roumieh – 14 March 1978

164-                  Farid Yousef Hanna – 1978

165-                  Nasser Dib Qaafarani – 1978

166-                  Chahine Chaker Al-Hayek – 22 January 1978

167-                  Joseph Elias Al-Hwayyek – 6 October 1978

168-                  Tanious Yousef Elias – 9 February 1978

169-                  Mohamed Ta’aan Nasrallah – 1978

170-                  Jamal Riyad Houhou – 31 December 1978

171-                  Samir Sami Rameh Saad – 6 October 1976

172-                  Imad Najib Haydar – January 1976

173-                  Elias Emile Al-Harmoush – 16 January 1976

174-                  Antoine Michel Mezher – 16 January 1976

175-                  Samih Abdel-Rahim Mneimneh – 5 June 1976

 

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