Lebanese army prosecutor to probe 'death-by-torture' of Syrian refugees

Lebanese army prosecutor orders probe into death of four refugees in custody
2 min read
09 July, 2017
Lebanese prosecutor ordered forensics to examine the bodies of four Syrians who died in army custody last week following calls for an inquiry by rights groups and allegations of torture.
The army raided refugee camps around the area and made sweeping of arrests [Anadolu]
A military prosecutor ordered on Saturday an investigation in to the death of four Syrian men in army custody, following calls for an inquiry by rights activists.

Judge Dany Zeeny said three doctors appointed by military prosecutor Judge Sakr Sakr took samples from the bodies on Friday for a forensic examination.

The four Syrian refugees were detained in a sweeping security raid last week in refugee settlements in and around the border town of Arsal that netted 355 Syrians.

Also on Saturday, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri urged the Lebanese Army head Brigadier General Joseph Aoun to fully investigate the deaths.

"Cabinet made a decision in its last session for the Army to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation into the deaths of several Syrians that were caught in the pre-emptive operation against the terrorist cells within camps of the displaced," Hariri said in a statement.

The Lebanese army carries out regular operations targeting jihadists in the mountainous border region near Arsal.

On June 30, the army raided refugee camps around the area and made sweeping of arrests. The army said five suicide bombers attacked troops during the raid, killing one child.

Activists shared images purported to be from the camps showing the humiliation of Syrians by security personnel and signs of torture on those arrested.

In the days following, at least four Syrians died in Lebanese detention with opposition groups saying the real figure was ten.

Lebanon said they died of "chronic illness" but photos said to be of the men's bodies showed signs of torture.

Human Rights Watch has demanded an independent probe, urging authorities to hold to account anyone responsible for wrongdoing.

Over a million Syrian refugees fled to neighbouring Lebanon following the outbreak of war in Syria in 2011 when regime troops brutally put down anti-government protests leading to a wider conflict.