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Lebanon
15.12.15
Urgent Interventions

Ongoing judicial harassment against members of the Lebanese Centre for Human Rights (CLDH), Ms. Marie Daunay and Mr. Wadih Al-Asmar

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URGENT APPEAL - THE OBSERVATORY

New information

LBN 001 / 0311 / OBS 036.2

Ongoing judicial harassment

Lebanon

December15, 2015

The Observatory forthe Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of theInternational Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World OrganisationAgainst Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your urgentintervention in the following situation in Lebanon.

Newinformation:

The Observatory hasbeen informed by reliable sources about the ongoing judicial harassment againstMs. Marie Daunayand Mr. Wadih Al-Asmar, respectively President and Secretary General of the Lebanese Centre forHuman Rights (Centre libanais des droits humains – CLDH).

According to theinformation received, on December 17, 2015, Ms. Marie Daunay and Mr. WadihAl-Asmar will appear before the Publication Court for the second public sessionof the criminal case for which they could face up to one year in jail or afine.

The case, whichstarted in March 2011 (see background information), is based on a complaintfiled by theAmal Movement, a political party headed by Mr. Nabih Berri, President of theLebanese Parliament, against CLDH, following the publication on February 10, 2011 of areport entitled “Arbitrary Detention and Torture: the bitter reality ofLebanon”[1] that denounced alleged practices of torture in Lebanon. The report also mentionstestimonies of arrests by Amal Movement members.

The Observatorystrongly condemns the judicial harassment against Ms. Marie Daunay and Mr.Wadih Al-Asmar, which only aims at sanctioning their legitimate human rightsactivities and calls on the authorities to drop all charges held against them,and put an immediate end to this judicial harassment.

Backgroundinformation:

On March 14, 2011,Ms. Marie Daunay and Mr. Wadih Al-Asmar were notified that they were requestedto present themselves to the criminal investigation service at the Ministry ofJustice in Beirut on March 17, 2011 at 10 a.m. The summons was then postponedto March 22, 2011. During the interrogation, the two CLDH representatives werenot allowed to be assisted by a lawyer, and used their right to remain silent,guaranteed notably by Article 47 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

A hearing of CLDH representatives took place on July 6, 2011 before theBaabda Court, and was postponed to give CLDH representatives sufficient time toappoint a lawyer.

On October 11, 2011, hearings of the two CLDH representatives startedbefore the Investigating judge at the Baadba Court which concluded to thereferral of the matter to the Publication Court.

On February 24, 2014,the Investigating judge at the Baadba Court indicted both Ms. Marie Daunay andMr. Wadih Al-Asmar with “defamation”.

On March 17, 2015, the two CLDH representatives appeared for a firstpublic session before the Publication Court, presided by Judge Elias Khoury.

The judgment wassupposed to be rendered on June 11, 2015.

Actionsrequested:

Please write to theLebanese authorities urging them to:

i. Put an end to any acts of harassment, including at the judicial level,against Ms. Marie Daunay and Mr. Wadih Al-Asmar, and more generally against allhuman rights defenders in Lebanon;

ii. Guarantee in allcircumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Ms. Marie Daunayand Mr. Wadih Al-Asmar, other representatives of CLDH, as well as of all humanrights defenders in Lebanon;

iii. Conformwith the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted bythe General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially:

- its Article 1, which states that “everyone has theright, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strivefor the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms atthe national and international levels”,

- its Article 6 (b) and (c), which states that“Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others […] asprovided for in human rights and other applicable international instruments,freely to publish, impart or disseminate to others views, information andknowledge on all human rights and fundamental freedoms and [...] to study,discuss, form and hold opinions on the observance, both in law and in practice,of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and, through these and otherappropriate means, to draw public attention to those matters”;

- its Article 12.2, which provides that “the Stateshall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competentauthorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, againstany violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adversediscrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of hisor her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the presentDeclaration”;

iv. Moregenerally, ensure in all circumstances the respect for human rights andfundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standardsand international instruments ratified by Lebanon.

Addresses:

· Mr. Tammam Salam, PrimeMinister, Grand Serail, Beirut, Lebanon. Fax: + 961 (0)1-983060

· AshrafRifi, Minister of Justice, Ministry of Justice, Adlieh, Beirut, Lebanon. Fax:+961 (0)1-612564

· Mr.Nouhad Machnouk, Minister of Interior, Ministry of Interior, Sanayeh, Beirut,Lebanon. Fax: +961 (0)1-751622

· PermanentMission of Lebanon to the United Nations in Geneva, rue de Moillebeau 58,1209 Geneva, Switzerland. E-mail: mission.lebanon@ties.itu.int, Fax : +41 22791 85 80

· Embassyof Lebanon in Brussels, rue G. Stocq, 2 1050 Brussels, Belgium. E-mail:ambassade.liban@brutele.be, Fax: +32 2.645.77.69

Please also write tothe diplomatic mission or embassy of Lebanon in your respective countries.

***

Paris-Geneva,December 15, 2015

Kindly inform us of any action undertakenquoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, isdedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer themconcrete support in their time of need.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergencyline:

· E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org

· Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 143 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80

· Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 80949 29

[1] See http://humanrights-lb.org/upload/Torture%20and%20Arbitrary%20Detention%20ENGL.pdf. The reportpublished by the CLDH, contains more than 60 pages outlining patterns ofarbitrary detention and torture in Lebanon, based on statistical data,testimonies and interviews, and tackling the alleged practices of most of theLebanese security services dealing with arrests. The Amal Movement seems tohave initiated its lawsuit against CLDH on the basis of four lines of thereport, where CLDH states that it gathered testimonies of arrests by AmalMovement in which, in some cases, serious allegations of torture duringinvestigation were revealed (page 25), while explaining in its conclusions thatit was not possible to evaluate the frequency of these torture allegationsspecifically (page 29).

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