World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

Lebanon: Calls For Review Of Yusef Cha'ban Case


Lebanon: AI calls for review of Yusef Cha'ban case

Amnesty International has written to the Lebanese authorities calling for an independent review of the case of Yusef Cha'ban, who was sentenced to life imprisonment in October 1994.

A Palestinian refugee resident in Lebanon, Yusef Cha'ban was convicted before the Justice Council of the January 1994 killing of Jordanian diplomat Na'ib 'Omran al-Ma'aita.

On 12 June 2007, the UN Working-Group on Arbitrary Detention declared Yusef Cha'ban's continuing detention to be arbitrary and called for the Lebanese authorities to remedy the matter. The Working Group found that he had been denied a fair trial, notably because he was denied the right to have his conviction and sentence reviewed by a higher tribunal. The UN body found also that the violation he suffered was the more severe because a "confession" accepted by the court as evidence against him, was allegedly extracted under torture and new information appears to support this claim.

Following his arrest, Yusef Cha'ban was held in secret, incommunicado detention for 10 days without access to a lawyer and for a further month without contact with his family. He was initially held in secret by Syrian intelligence officials at the Beau Rivage detention centre they then operated in Beirut before being handed over to the Lebanese Criminal Investigations Police in Forn al-Shabak, Beirut. At his trial, he alleged that while detained he was tortured and otherwise ill-treated to make him "confess," but the court failed adequately to investigate his allegations of torture and other ill-treatment. He was also denied the opportunity to appeal against his conviction and sentence to a higher tribunal, as required by recognised international standards on the right to fair trial.

During his detention, following his arrest on 5 February 1994, Yusef Cha'ban alleges that various torture methods were used against him, including the "German Chair," where the victim is forced to sit in a metal chair with moving parts that stretch the spine, suspension from his wrists while they were tied behind his back (the ballanco), electric shocks, threats and denial of food, water and sleep. His family were not informed of his detention for 40 days.

Amnesty International has previously expressed concern that trials before the Justice Council fail to satisfy international standards for fair trials and has documented a number of trials which were deficient.* In particular, it is unclear on what criteria cases are selected by the Council of Ministers for referral to the Justice Council, and the latter has failed to order independent investigations into allegations of torture during pre-trial detention made by defendants at trial. Further, as the Human Rights Committee noted in 1997, "the fact that decisions passed by the Justice Council are not subject to appeal" breaches the fair trial requirements of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and Lebanon's obligations as a party to this treaty.

In the case of Yusef Cha'ban, new developments since 1994 have raised further questions about the safety of his conviction and consequent imprisonment. On 3 December 2001 the Jordanian State Security Court convicted Yasser Muhammad Ahmad Salameh Abu Shanaar, 'Aqaab Namer Suleiman Fuqhaa and Jamal Darwish Mustafa Fatayr of the same killing. The prosecution made no reference to Yusef Cha'ban or to any part that he was alleged to have had in the assassination; indeed, the only reference made to Yusef Cha'ban during this trial was by one of the accused who explicitly denied that Yusef Cha'ban had participated in the assassination.

Also, the report of a ballistics expert appointed by Yusef Cha'ban's lawyer that was presented to the Justice Council on 23 October 2007, a copy of which Amnesty International has seen, casts serious doubt on the description of events as portrayed at the trial before the Justice Council.

In view of these developments, Amnesty International is urging the Lebanese authorities to ensure that the conviction and imprisonment of Yusef Cha'ban is made the subject of an urgent, thorough and independent review in order to ensure that any miscarriage of justice is remedied at the earliest opportunity and that he is guaranteed a fair re-trial in accordance with international standards or released.

(see Lebanon: Torture and unfair trial of the Dhinniyyah detainees [AI Index: MDE 18/005/2003]; Lebanon: Samir Gea'gea' and Jirjis al-Khouri -- Torture and unfair trial [AI Index: MDE 18/003/2004])

ENDS

Latest World News | Top World News | World Digest | Archives | RSS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UN: Violations Of Palestinian Rights Puts Two-State Solution At Risk, Chief Warns
The situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, continues to pose a significant challenge to international peace and security, United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, said on Monday... More>>



Oxfam: Afghanistan Faces Multiple Crises

ActionStation, Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand, Christian World Service, Oxfam Aotearoa and World Vision New Zealand say that while Afghanistan faces chronic poverty, persistent droughts, war, the Covid-19 pandemic and an economic crisis, winter is about to bring a whole new set of challenges...More>>

AFTINET: New COVID Strain Postpones WTO Meeting

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Meeting scheduled for November 30-December 3 has been postponed indefinitely because the new Omicron strain of the COVID-19 virus in African countries with low vaccination rates prevents many African and other delegations from attending the meeting...
More>>


Focus On: UN SDGs

Food: Three Billion People Cannot Afford A Healthy Diet

Approximately three billion people, almost 40 per cent of the world’s population, cannot afford a healthy diet and another one billion people would join their ranks should further unpredictable events reduce incomes by one-third, the UN food agency said, launching a new report on Tuesday... More>>

COP26: Enough Of ‘Treating Nature Like A Toilet’ – Guterres Brings Stark Call For Climate Action To Glasgow
As the World Leaders Summit opened on day two of COP26, UN chief António Guterres sent a stark message to the international community. “We are digging our own graves”, he said, referring to the addiction to fossil fuels which threatens to push humanity and the planet, to the brink, through unsustainable global heating... More>>


Climate: ‘Vague’ Net Zero Promises Not Enough: Planet Still On Track For Catastrophic Heating, UN Report Warns

New and updated commitments made ahead of the pivotal climate conference COP26 in the past months are a positive step forward, but the world remains on track for a dangerous global temperature rise of at least 2.7°C this century even if fully met, a new report by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has warned... More>>