Lebanon under fire from human rights groups over murder of Syrian detainee
A forensic investigation has disproven claims made by the State Security Service, which said the Syrian detainee died of a heart attack after ingesting a captagon pill
By News Desk - September 07 2022

(Photo credit: Guevara Abboud)

Human rights organizations have condemned acts of torture in Lebanese detention centers following the extrajudicial killing of a Syrian citizen last week.

Bashar Abdel Saud was arrested in the Sabra refugee camp in Beirut late last month, in connection to a counterfeit $50 bill. He was then taken to a police station where he was beaten to death by officials from the State Security Service.

After his murder, the officers claimed he had died of a heart attack after ingesting a captagon pill. The story later changed, with officers claiming Abdel Saud was an “ISIS leader” who tried to attack investigators before suffering a heart attack.

The forensic doctor who examined the body issued a report refuting claims that Abdel Saud had died of a heart attack. He highlighted that the victim suffered bruises, severe wounds, burns, and physical abuse.

Abdel Saud’s lawyer denied the charges, as State Security first promised an internal investigation. However, the case was then transferred to Lebanon’s military court.

“To ensure transparency and impartiality, Abdel Saud´s case must urgently be referred to a civilian court,” Amnesty’s Regional Director for West Asia and North Africa Heba Morayef said in the statement. “His family deserves justice and reparations for their tragic loss.”

Human Rights Watch’s West Asia and North Africa Director Lama Fakih said of the case: “Lebanon suffers from a legacy of impunity for torture … We have not yet seen steps taken to ensure that robust investigations are undertaken and that responsible individuals are held accountable.”

Over the weekend, Lebanese authorities arrested four State Security officers in connection to the murder. The arrests came on the orders of the government’s commissioner to the military courts, Fadi Akiki.

“The most severe sanctions will be taken against anyone found guilty of violating the clear instructions of the directorate, in terms of human rights and the fight against violence and torture,” the State Security directorate said in a statement on Saturday.

However, the statement repeated the claim that Abdel Saud had been an ISIS leader.

The head of the Lebanese parliament’s Human Rights Committee, MP Michel Moussa, said of the case: “This is a heinous crime against a human being, regardless of his nationality or affiliation.”

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