Laval, Canada - September 1, 2002

Forgotten for 8 years in the underground of the Lebanese Minister of Defense.

Credible sources have reported the release of Mr Hanna Youssef Challita after 8 years of illegal detention in the underground of the Lebanese Minister of Defense. 
Mr. Challita who has also the Australian citizenship, was detained since 1994 for being allegedly accused in the murder of MP Tony Sleiman Frangieh. All these years, he has never been tried or interrogated in the presence of his lawyer despite multiple requests from the latter.

RCPL is happy to know about the release of Mr. Chalitta but considers that it came after a very excessive long period of detention. RCPL considers the illegal arrests of civilians and their detention for long periods without trial as severe violations of articles 102 and 103 of the Lebanese Code of Criminal Procedures (CCP) as well as of article 9 (3) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR):

" Any stopped or held individual of the head of a penal infringement will be translated as soon as possible in front of a judge or another authority entitled by the law to exert legal functions, and will have to be judged within a reasonable or released time. The detention of people who wait to pass in judgment should not be of rule, but the setting in freedom can be subordinated to guarantees ensuring the appearance of interested in the audience, all the other acts of the procedure and, if necessary, for the execution of the judgment. "

RCPL considers these detainees as innocent as long as they have not been submitted to fair trial and judged guilty and calls the Lebanese authorities to release all prisoners of conscience who have been detained in some cases for decades and are enduring the risk of torture and psychological degradation of their integrity.

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