Human Rights Watch called on Washington Saturday to ensure no foreign ISIS suspects, held by local allies in Syria, are transferred to Lebanon where they are at risk of torture or unfair trials.
Local newspapers reported that the U.S. had handed over eight Lebanese detainees from northern Syria to Lebanese Military Intelligence. Justice Minister Salim Jreissati was quick on Saturday to say that the eight suspected ISIS members handed over to Lebanon recently are being questioned under the supervision of judicial authorities and they will stand trial in their home country.
“Their trial in Lebanon is a guarantee for them,” the minister said. Lebanon’s military confirmed on August 1 that the Army Intelligence was holding the eight men, who had been referred to judicial authorities.
“The US should create a transparent process with strong safeguards to ensure that no ISIS suspect is transferred to a country where they are at risk of torture or an unfair trial,” said Nadim Houry, terrorism and counterterrorism director at HRW.
“Transferring detainees in total secrecy without basic legal protections is a recipe for abuse,” he added. HRW said the U.S. has assisted the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in northern Syria to detain hundreds of foreign ISIS suspects.
Also, the Wall Street Journal reported last month that no country has sought to take back its nationals and the U.S., concerned by instability in northern Syria, has begun returning suspected fighters to their country of origin.
The Journal quoted a senior U.S. Defense Department official saying about two dozen men had been returned while “another 100 or so are in the process of being sent back to their countries.”
Houry said, “The U.S. transfers of ISIS suspects to Lebanon became known because of the country’s vibrant press.”
He added, “Dealing with these cases and ISIS atrocities presents no easy solution, but without a transparent process that permits suspects to raise torture concerns and clarity about U.S. detention policy in northern Syrian, there is a risk that new crimes will just be piled on top of past ones.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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