BEIRUT — An attorney in Paris on Friday filed a complaint to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on behalf of four Lebanese port officials detained in connection with the Aug. 4, 2020 Beirut port explosion, the state-run National News Agency reported.
Here’s what we know:
• The complaint was filed to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention by Rachel Lindon, an attorney representing former Customs general director Chafik Merhi, Customs director Badri Daher, head of the Temporary Committee for Management and Investment at the Port of Beirut Hassan Koraytem and Customs Authority director Hanna Fares.
• The attorney’s statement protested the officials’ arrests, which came “the day following the explosion for no reason other than that they held or had held their current or previous positions and without giving them the chance to defend themselves.” The attorney also claims that “the wounds of the country cannot be healed by unjustly imprisoning people who were found guilty only on the basis of their jobs, while the political class is spared any responsibility.”
• The statement announcing the complaint claims that “the detainees were deprived of their right to legal counsel during questioning and were made to appear before the judiciary within unjustified time limits, all while the documents related to their detention remained inaccessible.” The statement goes on to note that “the impossibility of reviewing the arrest warrants against the detainees, their continued and indefinite pre-trial detention and the intervention of political actors preventing a fair and unbiased trial justify considering their cases as arbitrary arrests.”