Torture in  [Lebanon]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Lebanon]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Lebanon]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Lebanon]  [other countries]

Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

& Other Ill Treatment

In the early years of the 21st Century                                                              

Republic of Lebanon

Lebanon has a free-market economy and a strong laissez-faire commercial tradition. The government does not restrict foreign investment; however, the investment climate suffers from red tape, corruption, arbitrary licensing decisions, high taxes, tariffs, and fees, archaic legislation, and weak intellectual property rights. The Lebanese economy is service-oriented; main growth sectors include banking and tourism.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Description: Lebanon

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Lebanon.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.

*** ARCHIVES ***

Exonerated Actor Details Torture -- Zaid Itani’s Account a Test Case for Country’s New Torture Law

Human Rights Watch, Beirut, 15 July 2018

[accessed 17 July 2018]

Itani told Human Rights Watch in March that after his arrest in November 2017, he was held in what may have been an informal detention center where men in civilian clothing beat him repeatedly, tied him in a stress position, hung him by his wrists, kicked him in the face, threatened to rape him, and threatened his family with physical violence and legal charges. Details of the investigation were leaked to the media within a day of his arrest, and Itani said interrogators, reportedly from State Security, used the damage to his reputation to put additional pressure on him to confess.

center for forensic science and rehabilitation to open in Tripoli

Published June 28th, 2015 via

[accessed 8 November 2015]

A new center for forensic science and rehabilitation will open at the JusticePalace in Tripoli within two months to collect evidence of prison torture and help victims heal. The initiative is especially pertinent in light of the Roumieh Prison videos that leaked last week showing guards brutally assaulting prisoners.

With consent from prisoners, lawyers, doctors and psychologists will collect forensic evidence of torture and offer physical and psychological care.

Fahd Muqaddem, president of the North Lebanon Bar Association, praised the center. “It’s the first of its kind,” he said. “Now we’ll be able to meet with the detainees after their initial interrogations. We can prove they’ve been beaten, and we will be able to pursue the perpetrators.”

52% of female detainees in Lebanon are tortured: report

The Daily Star, Beirut, 17 April 2015

[accessed 5 May 2015]

More than half of the women arrested by the Lebanese authorities in 2013 and 2014 were subjected to severe torture, according to a human rights group report.

"Men and women continue to face systematic and widespread torture during investigations," said Wadih al-Asmar, secretary-general of CLDH, in a press conference. “We hoped, in preparing this report, that women would be less affected than men by arbitrary detention and torture, but it is not the case.”

“Investigating judges have continued during the studied period to endorse confessions extracted under torture, without revoking them or ordering investigations into the allegations,”

Lebanese jailers 'torture and abuse inmates'

Ruth Sherlock, The Telegraph, Beirut, 26 June 2013

[accessed 27 June 2013]

Lebanese jailers routinely torture and sexually abuse inmates, despite receiving foreign funding, including from Britain, to improve the country's prison system, a Human Rights Watch report has disclosed.

"Abuse is common in Lebanon's police stations, but it is even worse for people like drug users or sex workers," said Nadim Houry, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.

Most cases of torture by members of the ISF included beatings, using fists, boots and sticks. Seventeen former detainees said they were denied food, water, or medication. Others reported being handcuffed to bathrooms or being kept in stress positions for hours.

"They took me to interrogation naked, poured cold water on me, tied me to a desk with a chain, and hung me in the *farrouj* position," said "Mohammad," who was arrested for drug possession, describing being suspended by the feet with hands tied to an iron bar passed under the knees. "They broke all my teeth and nose, and hit me with a gun until my shoulder was dislocated." A key cause for the continuing use of torture, despite receiving large donations from countries including Britain and the United to improve the prison system, is a lack of accountability, the rights watchdog found.

All of the victims from marginalized social groups interviewed by HRW found it difficult, and even dangerous, to report the abuse. In only three of the cases seen by HRW did judges order investigations, leaving the other attackers free to operate with impunity. In some cases victims were threatened when they tried to report mistreatment.

The state of the world's human rights

Amnesty International AI, Annual Report 2013

[accessed 2 March 2014]


There were new reports of torture and other ill-treatment of detained security and criminal suspects. In at least one case, an individual suspected on security grounds was reported to have been apprehended, beaten and threatened by armed non-state agents and then handed over to Military Intelligence for further interrogation, during which he was subjected to additional assaults.

In an effort to address torture and other abuses, the government, with assistance from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, launched in January a code of conduct for the Internal Security Forces. However, the government again failed to establish an independent monitoring body to visit prisons and detention centres, in breach of its international obligations. It was therefore difficult to establish whether the code of conduct brought about any improvements.


The fate of thousands who were abducted, detained or went missing during and after Lebanon’s 1975-1990 civil war, including many said to have been taken to Syria, mostly remained unresolved. A draft decree proposed by the Minister of Justice to establish an Independent National Commission to investigate the fate of the disappeared and missing was widely criticized and had not been enacted by the end of the year. The release of Yacoub Chamoun from a Syrian prison almost 27 years after he went missing gave hope to families of the disappeared that some of their loved ones may still be alive.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 4 February 2013]

TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT – The law does not specifically prohibit torture, and security forces abused detainees and in some instances used torture. Human rights groups, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, reported that torture was a common practice.

During the period of Syrian control prior to April, former detainees at the Lebanese Ministry of Defense Detention Center and in Syrian jails stated that they were routinely tortured during interrogation. Methods of torture frequently included severe beating, food and sleep deprivation, and hanging by the wrists which were tied behind the back.

In September 2004 Ismail al-Khatib died in custody a week after being arrested as a suspected leader of al-Qa'ida. The government coroner reported al-Khatib, who was 31 years old, died of a massive heart attack, but speculation attributed his death to torture. An independent investigation was undertaken by local human rights organizations, but no findings had been released by year's end.

The government acknowledged that violent abuse of detainees usually occurred during preliminary investigations conducted at police stations or military installations, in which suspects were interrogated without an attorney. Such abuse occurred despite national laws that prevent judges from accepting confessions extracted under duress.

In its October report, the UNIIIC investigation of the assassination of former prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri noted that some unidentified security personnel had abused witnesses in the aftermath of al-Hariri's assassination.

Abuses also occurred in areas outside the government's control, including in Palestinian refugee camps. During the year there were reports that members of the various groups that controlled specific camps detained their Palestinian rivals (see section 1.d.). Rival groups, such as Fatah and Asbat al-Nur, regularly clashed over territorial control in the various camps, sometimes leading to exchanges of gunfire and the detention of rival members.

Freedom House Country Report - Political Rights: 5   Civil Liberties: 4   Status: Partly Free

2009 Edition

[accessed 4 February 2013]

Arbitrary arrest and detention by the security forces were commonplace before 2005, but they have been curtailed since UN personnel were embedded with the security services to investigate the assassination of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri. The use of torture to extract confessions is widespread in security-related cases. Prison conditions are poor

Human Rights in Lebanon

Human Rights Watch

[accessed 4 February 2013]

Reform in Lebanon stagnated in 2011, in part because Lebanon proved mostly immune to the Arab Spring and its widespread popular calls for change. The stagnation was also caused by internal divisions, which prevented progress on draft laws to stop torture, improve the treatment of migrant domestic workers, and protect women from domestic violence. Women face discrimination under personal status laws, and vulnerable groups are reportedly mistreated or tortured in detention.

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Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance & Other Ill Treatment in the early years of the 21st Century- Lebanon",, [accessed <date>]



Torture in  [Lebanon]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Lebanon]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Lebanon]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Lebanon]  [other countries]