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Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

& Other Ill Treatment

In the early years of the 21st Century, 2000 to 2025                                  

Republic of Lebanon

Prisons and detention centers are badly overcrowded and poorly equipped, and the use of torture by law enforcement, military, and state security personnel remains pervasive despite inconsistent efforts to stop the practice.  [Freedom House Country Report, 2020]

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.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Torture by Authorities are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring the moral justification for inflicting pain or inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment in order to obtain critical information that may save countless lives, or to elicit a confession for a criminal act, or to punish someone to teach him a lesson outside of the courtroom.  Perhaps your paper might focus on some of the methods of torture, like fear, extreme temperatures, starvation, thirst, sleep deprivation, suffocation, or immersion in freezing water.  On the other hand, you might choose to write about the people acting in an official capacity who perpetrate such cruelty.  There is a lot to the subject of Torture by Authorities.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.

*** ARCHIVES ***

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Lebanon

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 27 July 2021]


The LAF Investigation Branch conducted an internal investigation that began May 6 into the alleged torture of detainees in LAF detention facilities in Sidon and Tripoli following protests in those cities. The investigations were suspended due to the lack of formal allegations from the victims and because the original investigating judge resigned from his position; the cases remained open as of October 19. The LAF imposed the highest penalties allowed by the military code of justice in several cases involving torture, while noting that only a judicial decision could move punishment beyond administrative penalties.


According to a government official, most prisons lacked adequate sanitation, ventilation, and lighting, and authorities did not regulate temperatures consistently. Roumieh prisoners often slept 10 in a room originally built to accommodate two prisoners, and basic medical care suffered from inadequate staffing, poor working conditions, and extreme overcrowding. The ISF reported that seven individuals died in detention facilities during the year.


Pretrial detention periods were often lengthy due to delays in due process, in some cases equal to or exceeding the maximum sentence for the alleged crime. As of October, the ISF reported 3,703 prisoners in pretrial detention, or approximately 55 percent of the 6,670 total detainees.

Freedom House Country Report

2020 Edition

[accessed 15 May 2020]


Prisons and detention centers are badly overcrowded and poorly equipped, and the use of torture by law enforcement, military, and state security personnel remains pervasive despite inconsistent efforts to stop the practice. The government’s attempts to address this issue have progressed slowly; in late 2016, the parliament established the National Preventative Mechanism against Torture (NPM), and gave the National Human Rights Institute (NHRI) the responsibility to enact this protocol. In 2017, the parliament passed antitorture legislation, expanding on a criminal statute that narrowly prohibited the use of violence to extract confessions. However, the NPM’s five members, who are charged with overseeing this legislation’s implementation, were only named in March 2019, and funding for the NPM remained unallocated by the end of the year.

Lebanese army denies torture of protesters

Morning Star, 5 May 2020

[accessed 10 May 2020]

But lawyer for the seven detainees Lama al-Amin from the Committee for the Defence of Protesters told a different story after she was able to visit them at army intelligence headquarters.

“They were scared, terrified, and had been beaten. They told me about all the torture they had undergone. Two said they had been electrocuted,” she said.

Six of those detained were rushed to hospital after being released with a range of head injuries, bruises to the back and legs and swelling on the soles of their feet. Medical examinations concluded that they had been tortured.

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.

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.


From an old article -- URL not available

Article was published sometime prior to 2015


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.


For more articles:: Search Amnesty International website

[accessed 6 January 2019]

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

2009 Edition

[accessed 4 February 2013]

LONG URL   ç 2009 Country Reports begin on Page 21

[accessed 13 May 2020]

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 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]

[accessed 4 July 2019]

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.

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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>]