Montreal, Canada - April 30, 2004

April 2004 - Vol. 9

RCPL April 2004 Newsletter includes the following items:

1.
Peaceful demonstrators get beaten up by police 
2.
Journalist sentenced to 1 year in jail because of false article
3. A Canadian becomes an activist for the conditions of prisoners in Lebanon
4. Canadian foreign affairs officials make promises to help improving the human rights situation in Lebanon
5.
Vacancies in RCPL

1. Peaceful demonstrators get beaten up by police

Peaceful demonstrators attempted to deliver a petition with 10,000 signatures to the United Nations office in Beirut in regards to Lebanese detainees in Syrian prisons. They were blocked by government security forces, which beat them aggressively. Ghazi Aad, a human rights activist on a wheel chair, was beaten up and his wheelchair broken. Mothers of detainees also got beaten up. RCPL urges the Canadian authorities to publicly condemn this gross abuse of human rights.


2. Journalist sentenced to 1 year in jail because of false article

Ibrahim Awad, the Beirut editor of the London-based Asharq Al Awsat newspaper, got sentenced to 1 year in jail in absentia and fined LL50 million by the publications court. This relates to an article that appeared from the London head office while Awad was on vacation which reported that President Lahoud escaped an assassination attempt in Monte Carlo last December. Standard journalism would call for an erratum, which Asharq Al Awsat ran a front-page denial of the report plus an apology to President Lahoud. RCPL urges Canadian authorities to request a fair trial and due process for Ibrahim, which was not notified of his trial.


3. A Canadian becomes an activist for the conditions of prisoners in Lebanon

Bruce Balfour, a Canadian that spent 55 days in a Lebanese prison, has launched a book called "Rivers of Blessing: The Heart and Path of a Simple Servant," which tells the story of his captivity. Balfour wants to inform the world about the injustice being suffered by Lebanese prisoners. 


4. Canadian foreign affairs officials make promises to help improving the human rights situation in Lebanon

During a workshop between representatives of the Canadian Lebanese community in Montreal and Foreign Affairs officials on April 16 2004, promises were made to determine if Canada's policy can be improved through better strategies to help the human rights situation in Lebanon, mainly the freedom of opinion,media muzzlement and the Lebanese detainees in Syrian prisons. RCPL looks forward to seeing concrete actions that helps Lebanon.


5. Vacancies in RCPL

RCPL invites individuals with written language skills in english, and french to join its team of volunteers. Individuals must believe in freedom and human rights. For more information please visit our website at:
http://www.rcplonline.org/volunteerships.htm

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