Lebanon orders probe into torture of over 20 detained Syrians

Lebanon’s prosecutor general Ghassan Oueidat on Monday ordered a probe into the alleged torture of more than 20 Syrians in custody following a report by Amnesty International, state media reported.

Amnesty, in a report published last week, accused Lebanese authorities of “cruel and abusive” treatment of more than 20 Syrians it said had been tortured in prison or during interrogation.

It blamed in particular Lebanon’s military intelligence bureau and said the abuse was mostly at a military intelligence centre in east Lebanon’s Ablah district, the General Security bureau in Beirut or at the defence ministry.

Oueidat called on the government representative at the military court to “open an investigation into claims made by Amnesty International concerning the arrest and torture of Syrian refugees held over terrorism-related charges”, the official National News Agency reported.

In its report, Amnesty cited detainees as saying they faced some of the same torture techniques routinely used in Syrian prisons.

They were hung upside down, forced into stress positions for prolonged periods and beaten with metal rods and electric cables, according to the rights group.

At least 14 of the 26 cases it reported were detained on terrorism-related accusations made on discriminatory grounds, including political affiliation, it said.

Lebanon says it hosts 1.5 million Syrians — nearly a million of whom are registered as refugees with the United Nations.

Nine out of ten Syrians in Lebanon live in extreme poverty, the UN says.

Lebanese authorities have systematically pressured Syrians to return even though rights groups warn Syria is not yet safe.

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