Subject: SOLIDA/ Lebanese Army Violently Represses Peaceful Sit-in
Date: Fri, 9 Apr 2004
For Immediate Release
Lebanese Army Violently Represses Peaceful Sit-in Calling for the Release of Lebanese Detainees in Syria. More than 10,000 signatures have been collected across several of Lebanon's university campuses on a petition calling for the release of
Lebanese detainees in Syria. The petition was recently circulated by the Student Government of St. Joseph's University and by the student sections of a number of opposition parties.
Joined by representatives of SOLIDE (Support of Lebanese In Detention and Exile) and the Committee of the Families of the Lebanese Detainees in Syria, students held a peaceful demonstration yesterday morning in front of ESCWA, the regional bureau of the United Nations in Beirut. A delegation of students had scheduled an appointment with Mr. RAWDHA, the
Human Rights officer for ESCWA, and intended to hand him the petition and demand the intervention of the United Nations on behalf of the Lebanese nationals who are detained or who disappeared in Syrian territory.
The Lebanese Army intervened violently to disperse the crowd and prevent the delegation from meeting with Mr. RAWDHA. Water canons were used and the military beat up the demonstrators, including members of the detainees families and Mr. Ghazi AAD, president of SOLIDE, whose wheel chair was broken. At least one student, Mr. Tony ORIAN had to be rushed to
the hospital.
SOLIDA (Support for Lebanese Detained Arbitrarily) is dismayed by the use of force to repress, yet again, another peaceful demonstration, and by the fact that the Lebanese authorities have denied a meeting between Lebanese citizens and an official of the United Nations.
SOLIDA requests that the Lebanese authorities open an inquiry into the violence of yesterday morning and that those responsible for it be held accountable. SOLIDA further calls upon Lebanese State officials to show genuine interest in the issue of the Lebanese detainees and the disappeared in Syria, as well as in Lebanon and in Israel.
Paris, April 8, 2004