Lebanese public prosecutor given new information on Syria detainees

Lebanese public prosecutor given new information on citizens believed detained by Syria regime
3 min read
12 May, 2021
Two Lebanese public figures have handed over a file containing new information about Lebanese citizens held in Syria to the public prosecutors.
Some of the prisoners are thought to have been held for 30 years [Getty]

Two Lebanese politicians have presented new information to the public prosecutor regarding Lebanese citizens who are believed to be detained in Syrian prisons

Maged Eddy Abillama, member of parliament for the Lebanese Forces party, and Elie Mahfoud, lawyer and head of the Change Movement, handed to the public prosecutor a memorandum detailing "new data and information about the file of Lebanese detainees in Syrian prisons".

The memorandum includes complaints against President Bashar Al-Assad, intelligence and military officers, officials and security forces, in light of new information on the detainees. 

According to Abillama, the file was related to the kidnapping of a Lebanese citizen in 1997, who has reportedly been seen alive by his family on several occasions, and who has been appointed a British lawyer to follow his case. 

Speaking to the Lebanese National News Agency, Mahfoud said that the new information "shows complicity and dealings between the Lebanese security services and the Syrian regime", during the period of Syrian control over Lebanon, which lasted from 1976 until 2005. 

"Apart from what Assad did to his own people, he also kidnapped more than 622 Lebanese. He is responsible for their kidnapping and their fate. The ruling class in Lebanon is responsible for uncovering their fate, instead of running to pledge allegiance to him [Assad]," added Mahfoud. 

Mahfoud also rejected the decision to have voting for the upcoming Syrian presidential elections take place on Lebanese soil. 

"There will be no blood pledge on Lebanese soil," he said. 

"Every Syrian in Lebanon who wants to pledge allegiance to Assad must return to Syria and pledge allegiance to him there," he added.

The new information about the two men is to be added to an existing file regarding Lebanese detainees in Syria, which was handed to the public prosecutor in June 2020, again by Abillama and Mahfoud.

The information presented in 2020 relied on the testimonies of a former Syrian prisoner, who confirmed that Lebanese citizens were being held in Syrian prisons, some 30 years after they were initially arrested.

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Hundreds of Lebanese citizens are believed to have been arrested and disappeared, prior to Syria’s withdrawal. 

Repeated Lebanese calls for information about the fate and whereabouts of Lebanese citizens detained by the Syrian regime have been ignored.

After the withdrawal of Syrian forces from Lebanon in 2005, a Lebanese-Syrian committee was formed to investigate the issue of Lebanese detainees.

Much of the work of the committee was obstructed by the Syrian regime, and the fate of Lebanese nationals detained by Syria remains shrouded in mystery. 

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