Lebanon Starts Investigation into Missing Nationals, Families Skeptic
The Lebanese government has launched investigation into separate cases of nationals missing or kidnapped during the 15-year civil war and in its aftermath, according to the Daily Star.
The paper said that family members who suspect their relatives were kidnapped or went missing during and after the war will be able to fill out questionnaires detailing the circumstances of their loved ones’ disappearances.
The forms, which will be available at the Justice Ministry, will be submitted to a new Cabinet-appointed committee that will decide which cases to investigate.
But some of the families are skeptical about the feasibility of the red tape procedure.
Wadad Halwani, the president of the Committee for the Relatives of the Kidnapped and Missing, told the paper her organization had reservations about the stipulation that relatives must believe their loved ones are alive in order to fill out an application. She called it an “invalid requirement.”
Members of Halwani’s committee were due to meet with Fouad Saad, the minister of state for Administrative Development Monday afternoon to discuss the requirement and other issues. Saad heads the government-appointed committee looking into the issue.
In December 2000, Amnesty International welcomed the release of 54 political prisoners including 46 Lebanese, seven Palestinians and one Egyptian from Syrian prisons. The released, including 10 apparently arrested in 1999 and 2000, were handed over to Lebanese authorities.
"This is a step forward in redressing human rights violations committed by the Syrian forces operating in Lebanon over two decades," Amnesty International said.
However, Amnesty International voiced concern over the fate of scores of Lebanese believed to be detained or have "disappeared" in Syria remain unknown. Those include at least 20 soldiers and two priests who were apparently arrested or abducted by the Syrian forces during the conflict between Lebanese army battalions loyal to General Michel 'Aoun on 13 October 1990 and Syrian troops – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)