Lebanon: Wadih Al-Asmar, President of CLDH, faces threats of judicial harassment

21/08/2018
Urgent Appeal

LBN 001 / 0818 / OBS 104
Threat of judicial harassment /
Restrictions to freedom of expression
Lebanon
August 21, 2018

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Lebanon.

Description of the situation :

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the threat of judicial harassment faced by Mr. Wadih al-Asmar, President of EuroMed Rights and of the Lebanese Center for Human Rights (CLDH)[1].

According to the information received, Mr. Wadih al-Asmar received, on August 16, 2018, a WhatsApp call from the Cybercrime Bureau, requesting him for questionning regarding posts published on his Facebook and Twitter accounts. No further details were given on the specific content of the posts to Mr. Wadih al-Asmar. The Cybercrime Bureau summoned him to interrogation on August 31, 2018.

In recent weeks, summons by the authorities for writings criticizing politicians or mocking religious symbols on social medias have multiplied. On July 24, 2018, hundreds of citizens gathered on Samir Kassir Square to peacefully protest against repression and decline of freedom of expression in Lebanon.

In such context, the Observatory fears that Mr. Wadih al-Asmar may have been summoned in relation to his human rights activities, and calls the Lebanese authorities to refrain from any charges against him as well as against all human rights defenders, should they aim at sanctionning the legitimate exercice of freedom of opinion and expression.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities in Lebanon, urging them to:

i. Put an end to any act of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Mr. Wadih al-Asmar, and more generally against all human rights defenders in Lebanon;

ii. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Wadih al-Asmar, and respect his right to a fair trial ;

iii. Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially its articles 1, 6 (b) and (c), and 12; as well as of the International Convenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), especially its article 19;

iv. More generally, ensure in all circumstances the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Lebanon.

Addresses:

·Mr. Saad Hariri, Prime Minister, Grand Serail, Beirut, Lebanon. Fax: + 961 (0)1-983060
·Mr. Salim Jreissati, Minister of Justice, Ministry of Justice, Adlieh, Beirut, Lebanon. Fax: +961 (0)1-612564
·Mr. Nouhad Machnouk, Minister of Interior, Ministry of Interior, Sanayeh, Beirut, Lebanon. Fax: +961 (0)1-751622
·Permanent Mission of Lebanon to the United Nations in Geneva, rue de Moillebeau 58, 1209 Geneva, Switzerland. E-mail: mission.lebanon@ties.itu.int, Fax : +41 22 791 85 80
.Permanent Mission of Lebanon to the United Nations in New York, 866 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY 10017. E-mail : contact@lebanonun.org, Telephone: +1 (212) 355-5460
Fax: +1 (212) 838-2819.
·Embassy of Lebanon in Brussels, rue G. Stocq, 2 1050 Brussels, Belgium. E-mail: ambassade.liban@brutele.be, Fax: +32 2.645.77.69

Please also write to the diplomatic missions or embassies of Lebanon in your respective country as well as to the EU diplomatic missions or embassies in Lebanon.

***

Paris-Geneva, August 21, 2018

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of this programme is to intervene to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
· E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
· Tel and fax FIDH + 33 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
· Tel and fax OMCT + 41 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

[1] CLDH was created in 2006 by the Franco-Lebanese Movement SOLIDA (Support for Lebanese Detained Arbitrarily). It monitors the human rights situation in Lebanon, fights enforced disappearance, impunity, arbitrary detention and racism, and rehabilitates the victims of torture.

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