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
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