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Lebanon: "Disappearance" / fear of torture / health concern: Gabi 'Aql Karam

, رقم الوثيقة: MDE 18/004/1997

On 6 January 1997, Gabi 'Aql Karam was reportedly detained by four officers, allegedly from the Lebanese Intelligence forces, and is now being held at an unknown location. Fears that he may face torture are heightened by the fact that he suffers from a back injury and psychological problems, reportedly as a result of torture in Syria in 1994.

EXTERNAL AI Index: MDE 18/04/97
UA 28/97 "Disappearance" / Fear of Torture / Health Concern 28 January 1997
LEBANONGabi ‘Aql Karam, born 1958
Gabi Aql Karam is being held at an unknown location where Amnesty International
fears he may be facing torture. Concern for his well-being is heightened by
the fact that he suffers from a back injury and psychological problems, reportedly
as a result of torture in Syria in 1994 (see below).
Four officers, reportedly from the Lebanese intelligence forces, arrested Gabi
‘Aql Karam from his home in Sin al-Fil at 9.15am on 6 January 1997. They took
him away in a civilian car, a navy blue Honda. Two of the officers were armed
and wearing police uniforms, and the other two were in civilian clothing. They
reportedly did not have an arrest warrant.
It is not known if Gabi ‘Aql Karam has been charged or if he has access to medical
treatment.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Gabi ‘Aql Karam is married and has a son and two daughters aged 15, 14 and 10.
He is unemployed due to his back injury. His mother, who works in a bakery,
supports his family.
Gabi Karam was previously arrested in 1994 in a wave of arrest of hundreds of
suspected political opponents. He was charged with at least 15 others with having
supplied Israel and the USA with information. He was allegedly tortured in Syria
where he spent six weeks before being returned to Lebanon. He served 18 months
in prison in Lebanon following a sentence that was apparently based on statements
made in incommunicado detention. He was also reportedly denied access to a lawyer
and a doctor, and was released on 28 June 1995. (See UA 68/94, MDE 18/01/94 and
update MDE 18/09/94, and AI 1995 annual report)
Gabi Karam’s wife, Halla al-Haj, was reportedly detained in Syria for seven years.
She was arrested in Lebanon in 1989 or 1990 and was recently released. Amnesty
International does not have information about the reasons for her detention.
The transfer of political detainees for questioning from Lebanon to Syria is
not uncommon, but is a practise that is not publicly acknowledged by officials
in Syria and Lebanon. Amnesty International receives numerous allegations of
torture from Lebanese and other Arab prisoners who were transferred to Syria.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/airmail letters
in English, French, Arabic or your own language:
- requesting information about the current whereabouts and any charges against
Gabi ‘Aql Karam, arrested in Sin al-Fil on 6 January 1997;
- seeking assurances that he is not being subjected to torture and that he will
receive adequate medical treatment if necessary;
- calling for his immediate release unless he is to be charged with a recognizably
criminal offence. You may remind the Lebanese Government of its obligations
under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ICCPR, to which
Lebanon is a State Party: "Anyone who is arrested shall be informed, at the time
of arrest, of the reasons for his arrest and shall be promptly informed of any
charges against him";
- calling for him to have access to his family and a lawyer of his choosing.
You may draw the attention of the Lebanese Government to the United Nation’s
2
Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons Under Any Form of Detention
or Imprisonment, General Assembly Resolution 43/173 of 9 December 1988, adopted
without a vote: "... communication of the detained or imprisoned person with
the outside world, and in particular his family or counsel, shall not be denied
for more than a matter of days".
APPEALS TO:
His Excellency President Elias Hirawi
Office of the President
Ba'abda Palace
Ba'abda, Beirut
Republic of Lebanon
Fax: +961 1 425 393
Tel: +961 1 220 000
Telegrams: President Hirwai, Beirut, Lebanon
Salutation: Your Excellency
His Excellency Rafiq al-Hariri
Prime Minister
Office of the Prime Minister
Grand Serail
Rue des Arts et Metiers
Sanayeh, Beirut
Republic of Lebanon
Fax: +961 1 200 469; +961 1 354 318
Tel: +961 1 221 000
Telegrams: Prime Minister al-Hariri, Beirut, Lebanon
Salutation: Your Excellency
His Excellency Bahij Tabbara
Minister of Justice
Ministry of Justice
Palais de Justice, Beirut
Republic of Lebanon
Fax: +961 1 422 957 (if voice ask for fax)
Tel: +961 1 422 956
Telegrams: Minister of Justice, Beirut, Lebanon
Salutation: Your Excellency
His Excellency Michel Murr
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior
Office of the Prime Minister
Grand Serail
Rue des Arts et Metiers
Sanayeh, Beirut
Republic of Lebanon
Fax: +961 1 869 813
Tel: +961 1 369 135
Telegrams: Minister of Interior, Beirut, Lebanon
Salutation: Your Excellency
COPIES TO:
Mr. Adnan Addoum
Prosecutor General
3
Palais de Justice
Beirut
Republic of Lebanon
Fax: +961 1 423 790
and to diplomatic representatives of Lebanon accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or
your section office, if sending appeals after 20 March 1997.

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