(Support of Lebanese in Detention and Exile)
Since the publication of the decision granting amnesty to 600 political prisoners in Syria, Lebanese authorities stood still and made no attempt whatsoever to take account of the released Lebanese prisoners.
Following the Syrian decision, Prime Minister Mr. Rafic Hariri said in Damascus that there are some Lebanese among the prisoners . Mr. Assem Kanso, the head of the Syrian Baath party in Lebanon, mentioned that the number of the Lebanese detainees who will be released is less than 50, while prosecuting attorney of cassation, judge Adnan Adoum, denied having any information on this subject.
Following the governments policy of continuing to deny the presence of Lebanese detainees in Syrian prisons,
S.O.L.I.D.E. would like to clarify the following:
- The carelessness in tackling the case of releasing the Lebanese detained in Syrian prisons has gone beyond the limits of logic. The authorities should have issued a list of the names of the released Lebanese, their places, and where their parents can find them. Unfortunately, nothing of this sort has been done until now.
- We strongly condemn the ambiguous way which the government officials are quoting the number of the released - such as some Lebanese, or less than - as if the issue doesnt concern human beings who have names and identities.
- A working committee composed of SOLIDE and a group of lawyers was formed recently to follow-up on the legal procedures relating to those who will be released. In addition to that, this committee shall claim compensation from the Lebanese and Syrian governments for the damages incurred on the detainees. According to article 9(5) of the "International Covenant for civil and political rights", any person victim of an illegal arrest or detention shall have the right to receive compensation.
- We would like to acknowledge that this is the first time that Syria has broken the policy of silence reining over the case of the Lebanese detained in Syrian prisons. So what is the Lebanese government waiting for to acknowledge the presence of this legal and human case. It should investigate all the coercive kidnapping and arbitrary detention of Lebanese citizens that were carried out by the Syrian forces in Lebanon? This shall be done according to the articles of the "International Covenant for civil and political rights" and the "Universal Declaration of Human Rights"' which called for the protection of all people from coercive kidnapping.
Finally, it was reported that Syrian President Bashar Assad issued an order to transform Mazzeh prison into a hospital. By doing so, Syria is adopting a new policy of trying to improve its image on human rights. Closing the Mazzeh prison is a clear acknowledgment of the flagrant atrocities that were committed against human rights in this infamous jailhouse. However, this step cannot be explained as esthetical in the aim of erasing or effacing violations already made. We call upon President Bashar Assad to pursue this bold step by opening serious and transparent investigations of all the crimes that were committed against humanity in the Mazzeh prison.