Cease threats and intimidation of human rights lawyer – UN expert: Lebanon

OHCHR

Lebanon must immediately cease the threats and intimidation of Mohammad Ahmad Samir Sablouh, a human rights defender and lawyer who has worked to assist victims of torture, arbitrary detention and Syrian refugees facing deportation, a UN human rights expert said today.

Mr. Sablouh has been targeted by the General Security Directorate and the Government’s Commissioner to the Military Court in relation to his legal work and inputs for a report by Amnesty International on Syrian refugees who had allegedly been arbitrarily detained on terrorism-related charges and tortured in Lebanon.

Military prosecutors requested that Mr. Sablouh’s immunity as a lawyer be lifted, in order to prosecute him under Article 403 of the Lebanese Penal Code for allegedly making false accusations. He and his clients have also been regularly questioned in relation to his work assisting Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

“I am extremely concerned at the use of threats and intimidation that risk undermining the right to freedom of opinion and expression and the legitimate work of lawyers,” said Mary Lawlor, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders.

“The unimpeded work of human rights lawyers and human rights defenders in exposing these violations is crucial.”

The Special Rapporteur will continue to monitor the case and is in contact with the Lebanese authorities on the matter.

Her call was endorsed by: Mr. Felipe González Morales, Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants; and Mr. Diego García-Sayán, Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers.

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