lundi 28 avril 2008

Open Letter to Prime Minister Fuad Siniora On the Third Anniversary of the Syrian Withdrawal

Youssef Chaabane, Interrogated Under Torture by the Syrians, Remains in Arbitrary Detention in Lebanon

Dear Mr. Prime Minister,

Three years ago, the Syrian Army evacuated its troops from Lebanon, leaving behind it many painful scars…

The suffering of the Lebanese people under the Syrian occupation was enormous, leaving an open wound that will take years to heal. Much remains to be done to alleviate the pain and heal those scars.

Among the painful legacies of that period is the case of those individuals who were arrested and seriously tortured by the Syrian Intelligence Services on Lebanese soil. Hundreds of them remain missing to this day and the families of these victims continue to agonize over the possibility of ever finding them.

If the fate of one of those victims, just one, was in your hands, what will you do?

Would you turn your back? Would you abandon that person to his/her fate? Or would you take all measures necessary to restore their dignity?

Fifteen years ago, a man was kidnapped by the Syrian Intelligence Services in Lebanon. Under torture, this man was forced by the Syrian Intelligence Services to sign confessions. He signed under torture that he assassinated a diplomat. Yet, despite all the evidence proving this man’s innocence, he remains sentenced to life in prison.

This man is a direct victim of the Syrian Intelligence Services, and his name is Youssef Chaabane.

The fate of this victim is in your hands because, by a mere “act of fortune”, he remains incarcerated in a Lebanese jail and did not suffer the fate of so many other missing persons.

Today, you have the power to order the release of this man. Indeed, how can an anti-Syrian government like yours continue to endorse and support this monumental miscarriage of justice by Syria?

Today, you have the power to order the release of this man. It would be unimaginable to await the election of a President who may then issue a pardon. What is Youssef Chaabane’s responsibility in the current political situation in Lebanon? Nothing. Therefore, no justification can stand in the way of the inevitable action that must be taken: Release Youssef Chaabane as the direct victim of the barbaric Syrian Intelligence Services, and only you can do this.

We trust that you will take this bold step and we challenge anyone who would dare criticize this gesture. Not one political excuse can stand in the way of the decision of reinstating a victim’s rights.


For the CLDH

Beirut, April 28, 2008

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