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ISF launches committee to monitor torture in prisons.

Summary: BEIRUT: With thousands of detainees in Lebanon reporting they have been subjected to torture in investigations or during their sentences, the Internal Security Forces launched a committee in a bid to prevent such inhuman practices. "Unfortunately there are some judges who still provide a sort of a green light for security officers to commit torture against

BEIRUT: With thousands of detainees in Lebanon reporting they have been subjected to torture in investigations or during their sentences, the Internal Security Forces launched a committee in a bid to prevent such inhuman practices.

"Unfortunately there are some judges who still provide a sort of a green light for security officers to commit torture against detainees," said the president of the Association for Justice and Mercy, Father Hadi Aya, during a ceremony Tuesday to launch the ISF's Committee for Monitoring against the Use of Torture and Other Inhuman Practices in Prisons and Detention Centers.

The committee, established for the protection and the rehabilitation of the victims subjected to torture, would be administered by AJEM and members of the ISF.

An amount of 1.2 million euros (around $1.64 million) in funding for the project were allocated by the European Union Commission as part of their developmental projects in Lebanon.

"We thank the directorate general of the ISF and the president of the monitoring committee, Doctor Charbel Matar, and the rest of the members for this promising initiative," said Aya, who also blamed politicians and parliamentarians for failing to act on this national matter.

In 2008, Lebanon ratified the Optional Protocol of the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, but since then the government has abstained from implementing the protocol's 17th article, which binds the government to establish a National Preventative Mechanism against different kinds of torture and human-rights violations against detainees throughout the country.

Aya called on the politicians to facilitate the establishment of an independent national committee against torture.

"When we say independent, we mean that neither legislative nor executive authorities of the state would be allowed to intervene," he added.

Charge d'Affaires of the European Union delegation, Cecile Abadie, praised the cooperation by the ISF to develop and spread the culture of human rights among the Lebanese while at the same time preserve law and order.

"As a result of this initiative, the arrested and the prisoners would have the means to protect their rights and the ISF would be well prepared to practice [law enforcement] in the framework of respecting human rights," said Abadie.

A founding member of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Lebanon abides by its covenants but has failed in the past decades to embody human-rights principles in its domestic law to effectively act against different kinds of torture.

For his part, president of the monitoring committee, Brigadier Charbel Matar, said that the directorate general of the ISF would never hesitate to punish any personnel who resorts to violence and torture against detainees, whether in prison or during probes.

"But we all know that violence exists in the culture of our society; there are still parents who use violent means to educate and warn their children," said Mata, who spoke on behalf of ISF Commander Maj. Gen. Ashraf Rifi.

"Let's not forget that the ISF personnel are part of this society and to get rid of the past culture [of violence] requires great efforts," Matar added.

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Publication:The Daily Star (Beirut, Lebanon)
Geographic Code:7LEBA
Date:Feb 9, 2011
Words:583
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