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Israel/South Lebanon: Fear of torture / Legal concern

, Index number: MDE 15/050/1999

Mariam Sobeiti (f), Ibrahim Fadlallah, ‘Ali Khalil Khanafer, Bilal Mahmud Ja'afar, Ghunwa Mahmud Ja'afar, (f), Hussein Muhammad Samhat, Hussein Ahmad Samhat, Najwa Ahmad Samhat (f) and Ahmad Hussein Samhat were reportedly arrested on 7 October 1999 inside Israeli-occupied south Lebanon. They are now believed to be held in Khiam Detention Centre where Amnesty International fears that they may be tortured.

PUBLIC AI Index: MDE 15/50/99
EXTRA 142/99 Fear of torture / Legal concern 11 October 1999
ISRAEL/SOUTH LEBANONMariam Sobeiti (f), aged 49
Ibrahim Fadlallah, aged 60
‘Ali Khalil Khanafer, aged 24
Bilal Mahmud Ja'afar, aged 17
Ghunwa Mahmud Ja'afar, aged 21 (f)
Hussein Muhammad Samhat, aged 65
Hussein Ahmad Samhat, aged 39
Najwa Ahmad Samhat (f), his wife
Ahmad Hussein Samhat, aged 15, their son
The nine people named above, including two minors, were reportedly arrested
on 7 October 1999 in their village, Aainata, deep inside Israeli-occupied south
Lebanon. They are now believed to be held in Khiam Detention Centre where Amnesty
International fears that they may be tortured.
Khiam Detention Centre is the main South Lebanon Army (SLA) detention and
interrogation centre in Israeli-occupied south Lebanon. At least 130 detainees
are presently believed to be held there. Prisoners have been held without charge
or trial for up to 14 years. Former detainees have described systematic torture
and other ill-treatment, including beating, whipping, torture with electric
shocks and dousing with hot and cold water. Detainees are routinely denied
access to lawyers.
Israel asserts that it is not responsible for Khiam Detention Centre and directs
all inquiries to the SLA, but there are clear links between Israeli forces
in south Lebanon and the Khiam administration. Last month, the head of the
Israeli army’s Operations Division admitted to Israel’s High Court that members
of Israel’s internal security service, the General Security Service (GSS),
"cooperate with members of the SLA, and even assist them by means of professional
guidance and training...and hold meetings several times annually with SLA
interrogators at al-Khiam prison." According to the officer, in the first
seven months of this year, the GSS visited the prison three times. The officer
also admitted that the salaries of the interrogators at Khiam Detention Centre
were paid directly by the Israeli army. The officer stated that the Israeli
army intended to stop paying the interrogators.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/faxes/express/airmail letters in
English, Arabic or your own language:
- seeking assurances that the nine people reportedly arrested will not be
tortured or ill-treated in any way during their detention;
- calling for their immediate release if they are not charged with recognizably
criminal offences and tried according to international standards for fair trial;
- urging the Israeli government to respect its commitment to the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, in particular Article 5: "No one shall be subjected
to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment";
- urging full respect for the Convention on the Rights of the Child with respect
to the treatment of Bilal Mahmud Ja'afar, aged 17, and Ahmad Hussein Samhat,
aged 15.
Ehud Barak
Prime Minister and Minister of Defence
Office of the Prime Minister
3 Kaplan Street
Hakirya, Jerusalem 91007, Israel
Telegrams: Prime Minister, Jerusalem, Israel
Faxes: + 972 2 566 4838 / 691 7915
Salutation: Dear Prime Minister
Brigadier General Uri Shoham
Judge Advocate General
6 David Elazar Street
Hakirya, Tel Aviv, Israel
Telegrams: Judge Advocate General, Tel Aviv, Israel
Faxes: + 972 3 569 4370
Salutation: Dear Brigadier General
General Antoine Lahad
South Lebanon Army
c/o Lieutenant-General Shaul Mufaz
Chief of General Staff
7 ‘A’ Street
Hakirya, Tel Aviv, Israel
Telegrams: General Lahad, c/o Chief General Staff, Tel Aviv, Israel
Faxes:+ 972 3 691 6940 (write c/o Lieutenant-General Shaul Mufaz, Chief of
General Staff)
Salutation:Dear General
COPIES TO: diplomatic representatives of Israel accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 8 November 1999.

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