Human Rights NGOs in Lebanon over the News of the Prosecution of Dr. Muhamad Mugraby
Today, Wednesday May 3,
2000, the undersigned human rights organizations and associations held a special meeting
in Beirut at the end of which they issued the following joint statement:
1. The assembled NGOs denounce the prosecution or the likelihood of prosecution of
Dr. Muhamad Mugraby as it aims to curtail the liberty of one of the active defenders of
human rights. Such defense necessarily takes various forms such as the analysis and
criticism of laws, practices and violations committed by any of the three constitutional
branches of government, namely the legislative, the executive, and the judiciary.
2.The assembled NGOs further denounce the violation of the rule prescribed in the Code on
the Legal Profession which makes it unlawful to prosecute lawyers before seeking the
authority of the Council of the Bar.
3.The assembled NGOs are of the opinion that acts relative to the right of expression
which are published by any means may not be treated as witnessed crimes.
4.The assembled NGOs find it strange that some are talking of the possible precautionary
arrest of Maitre Mugraby and wish to remind all concerned that prosecutions for publishing
anything in the media falls within the jurisdiction of the press court where it is not
possible to make such arrests.
5.The assembled NGOs agree that criminal prosecution is one of several kinds of pressures
aimed at preventing the freedom of expression in the matter of criticism having the
objective of achieving an effective, independent and integral judicial power. Such
objective is generally shared by all the Lebanese, and especially by lawyers including
attorneys and judges. The freedom of speech is one of the basic liberties protected
by the Lebanese constitution, and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. This
freedom was further emphasized by the UN General Assembly declaration of December 10,
1998, known as the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, and especially Article 6 Par. C
thereof which endorsed the right of every individual and group:
(C) To study,
discuss, form and hold opinions on the observance, both in law and practice, of all human
rights and fundamental freedoms and, through these and other appropriate means, to draw
public attention to these matters.
6.Instead of targeting Dr. Mugraby, who is one of thousands of lawyers suffering from the
worsening of the integrity crisis, the undersigned Lebanese human rights organizations and
associations call on the Lebanese judiciary and all other constitutional authorities to
discontinue targeting lawyers and human rights defenders, and to provide evidence of their
devotion to integrity, particularly by investigating the facts made public by Dr. Mugraby.
The Lebanese Association for Human Rights, represented by Attorney Nimat Jimaa,
Nouveaux Droits de lHomme, Liban, represented by Dr. E. Abou Aoun,
The Association for the defense of Rights and Liberties (ADL), represented by Attorney
Ghassan Mkheiber, Tel. 01-331210.
Movement for Peoples Rights, represented by Mr. Walid Slaibeh,
MIRSAD, represented by Eng. Kamal el Batal,
The Foundation for Human and Humanitarian Rights, represented by Mr. Wael Khair,