U.N. Task Force Asks Assad to Release 2 Lebanese Prisoners
The U.N. Task Force for Arbitrary Arrests has confirmed the presence of Lebanese detainees in Syrian jails and pleaded with President Assad's administration to remedy this situation "at once" in conformity with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, An Nahar reported on Tuesday. The TFAA said in a statement in Paris that it was proven true that Syrian authorities hold two Lebanese citizens who were arrested without legal justification in Lebanon and then taken to Syria. The two were identified as Tanios Hibir, a Lebanese army corporal, and Najib Youssef Garamany.
The organization demanded "clear answers" about the Syrian-held Lebanese pair, saying Garamany was arrested Jan. 24 last year at his house in Baabdat, President Lahoud's hometown, by Lebanese intelligence officers who produced no arrest warrant. The Lebanese officers then took Garamany to Syria, where he was sentenced to death on a charge of spying for Israel in an unfair trial, the statement said, criticizing the Lebanese government for "showing no interest in getting the Lebanese detainees back from Syria." Garamany is still held in solitary confinement in a Syrian prison and his family has been banned from visiting him, according to the TFAA statement as published by An Nahar.
Hibir, 39, a resident of Beirut's Dikwaneh neighborhood, was arrested in Ein Saadeh by the Syrian intelligence service in the wake of the October 13, 1990 ouster of Gen. Aoun from the Baabda palace, the statement said.
Hibir was first taken to Anjar and then to the Palestine branch of the Syrian intelligence in Damascus "without producing an arrest warrant." He was initially detained at the Mezza prison and his father was allowed to visit him there, the statement continued.He was then taken to the prison of Palmyra in central Syria, where he spent 12 years in solitary confinement without a charge or trial. Beirut, Updated 23 Mar 04, 11:21