Students protest human rights violations
Rally hits out at militarization of Lebanese regime 

Hussain Abdul-Hussain
Daily Star staff

14/12/2001: A student rally Thursday called for freedom of expression with speakers vowing to “fight the … violation of human rights in Lebanon” and expressing strong discontent with the “militarization of the Lebanese regime and its association with Syria.”
The Student Council of the Lebanese University’s Faculty of Science in Fanar organized a campaign for human rights at the faculty Thursday. The campaign included a small photo exhibition, statements of support for the detained Habib Younes and testimonies of people who were assaulted in August in front of the Justice Palace.
“Since 1990, courts, universities, military tribunals, intelligence units and Syrian and Israeli prisons have witnessed the detention of leaders and the beating of students, lawyers and doctors,” said Jano Shalala, a member of the Student Council.

“Habib Younes, the hermit of Roumieh Prison, was sacrificed as a scapegoat. We salute him and Tawfiq Hindi (who was recently charged with collaboration with Israel) and promise that we will stand up to support them,” Shalala said.
Riad Matar, the lawyer for Younes, a journalist arrested and charged with collaboration a week ago, announced: “Habib Younes is innocent” and the best response to his accusation is a call for national reconciliation.
Younes’ wife Miray then recited a few poems written by her husband in his prison cell.

Tony Harb, president of the Lebanese Observatory for Civil Rights, claimed that the Organization for Human Rights in Lebanon “received threatening calls this morning (Thursday, leading it to) abstain from participating in this event.”
Harb criticized the maltreatment and the inadequate conditions of prisoners in the Roumieh Prison and “the Syrian dominance over Lebanese decision-making.”
Five of the 77 who were detained last August, attendees at the Fanar rally, were then called to deliver testimonies about the August incident.
Fadi Jreisati denounced those who were afraid to join the rally, saying: “There are a lot of people who haven’t been beaten up yet and who are ready to stand up for freedom in front of the Justice Palace and anywhere else.”
Another eyewitness, Fadi Lteif, the subject of a famous photograph showing his and his sister’s assault, urged all students to participate in future protests, saying: “This is the maximum they can do beating us up and detaining us what further measures can they take?”