lundi 9 juin 2008

Open Letter from ACAT-France to Lebanese President General Michel Sleiman


Paris, June 5, 2008

Dear Mr. President,

On the occasion of your recent election to the highest office of the Lebanese State, ACAT-France (Action of Christians for the Abolition of Torture) would like to bring to your attention the case of Youssef Chaabane, a Palestinian who has been detained for more than 14 years in Lebanon under a ruling that is in violation of Lebanon’s international commitments.

Youssef Chaabane was sentenced to life by the Justice Council of Lebanon in 1994. He stands accused of the murder of the First Secretary of the Embassy of Jordan in Lebanon. Mr. Chaabane has always claimed his innocence and his conviction is based solely on confessions extracted under torture. His continued detention has been declared arbitrary by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (Opinion 10/2007 dated May 11, 2007).

Given the information that is available to ACAT, and trusting that you will be keen to ensure the respect of Human Rights in your country, we address ourselves to you today in order to bring an end to the inhumane situation in which this man, a father, finds himself thrown in prison and deprived to any recourse of justice.

Based on new elements that point to his innocence, Mr. Chaabane’s lawyers have repeatedly attempted to have this case be re-tried, but to no avail. The Justice Council which convicted him continues to refuse to examine the substance of the petitions, despite their gravity.

Last April 30, the Parliamentary Commission on Human Rights, aware of the unique circumstances surrounding his situation, urged a re-trial.

Your election to the highest office in the country grants you the requisite authority to intervene without any further delay in favor of Youssef Chaabane, in order for this individual to regain his rights and his freedom. It is our sincere hope that justice will finally be served in Lebanon.


Anne-Cécile Antoni
ACAT-France President