Lebanon: Parliament Approves Law Instituting a National Human Rights Institution and a National Preventive Mechanism Against Torture
On 19 October 2016, the Lebanese Parliament approved a law creating an independent National Commission for Human Rights, Lebanon's National Human Rights Institution (NHRI), which includes a National Preventive Mechanism (NPM), an independent body mandated to improve the conditions of those deprived of liberty by visiting places of detention. The law, that followed several recommendations issued by UN human rights mechanisms in that regard, finally provides Lebanon with two essential independent bodies supposed to enhance the protection and promotion of human rights.
On 24 October 2016, Djiboutian authorities released Abdi Aden Cheik Ali, a citizen who had been arbitrarily arrested on 20 July 2016 in Ali-Sabieh following the dissemination of a video denouncing the lack of water in the region, after more than three months in arbitrary detention. Upon release, he claimed having been detained in very difficult conditions. Alkarama had already referred his case, on 10 August 2016, to the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression (SR FRDX), in order to call for his release after he had been sentenced by the Djiboutian authorities to three months imprisonment.
On 25 October 2016, Walid Diab, a 18-year-old Lebanese citizen from Tripoli, was released from the juvenile section of Roumieh prison where he was detained, following a release order issued the same day by the Juvenile Court in Tripoli. Arrested in 2014 when he was still a minor, Walid was accused for being a "member of a terrorist group" by the Military Court sitting in Beirut on the sole basis of information extracted under torture. Concerned over the arbitrary character of his detention, Alkarama had sent Walid's case to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) on 29 August 2016 demanding for its urgent intervention with the Lebanese authorities. His case was then transferred to the Juvenile Court in Tripoli in September 2016.
On 25 October 2016, Alkarama solicited the urgent intervention of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) with regards to the final sentencing to 20 years in prison of former President Mohamed Morsi and other members of his staff, as a result of an Egyptian Court of Cassation's ruling on 22 October 2016.
On 12 October 2016, the Alkarama Foundation launched the #KingdomofArbitraryDetention campaign to address arbitrary detention and the prosecution of human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia. On this occasion, Alkarama released a report, a short film and a joint open letter to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as a social media campaign using the hashtags #KingdomofArbitraryDetention and سعودية_دون_الإعتقال_التعسفي#. The campaign, which lasted 11 days, was launched on the seventh anniversary of the establishment of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA) and honours the commitment of its 11 human rights defenders – all of whom have been harshly prosecuted for their peaceful human rights activism – by featuring on every day a profile of each member. Ultimately, we hope that by shedding light on this pressing human rights issue, the campaign will propel the Kingdom's human rights record to the global stage , encourage the Saudi authorities to end its use of arbitrary detention and to respect the fundamental rights of human rights defenders.
On 21 October 2016, Alkarama sent to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) new information about Ali Aarrass, detained since 2008 and sentenced on the sole basis of confessions obtained under torture.