Report of the Visits to Tripoli and Zahle Prisons: Harrowing Conditions

هذا التقرير متاح أيضًا بـ: العربية (Arabic)

Report of the Visits to Tripoli and Zahle Prisons: Harrowing Conditions

●      Executive Summary

  1. The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), which includes the Committee for the Prevention of Torture, visited Tripoli Prison on September 15, 2023, and Zahle Men’s Prison on September 22, 2023, in cooperation with a team of specialists and doctors. The visit was supported by the Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF).[1]
  2. NHRC cooperated with a team of specialists to inspect the Tripoli and Zahle Prisons for Men and contracted with them. The team that examined the two prisons consisted of: Dr. Fadi Gerges, Head of NHRC, which includes the Committee for the Prevention of Torture, Dr. Josiane Madi Skaff, member of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture, part of NHRC, Dr. Rana El-Jamal, Secretary of NHRC, which includes the Committee for the Prevention of Torture, Dr. Omar Nashaba, Specialist in Prisons and Human Rights, assigned by NHRC/team coordinator, Dr. Michel Matar, Physician assigned by NHRC, Ms. Fidaa Abdel Fattah, Lawyer assigned by NHRC, Engineer Glinda Frangieh, Civil Engineer assigned by NHRC, and  Sworn Criminal Investigator, Jinan Al-Khatib, assigned by NHRC.
  3. During the two visits, the team of specialists examined various areas inside the two prisons, including the rooms where the prisoners are kept, storage areas, the outdoor courtyard, the kitchen, laundry facilities, electricity generators, medical clinics, the pharmacy, the infirmary, interview rooms, and an exercise courtyard designated for prisoners.
  4. During the visit, the specialists monitored the conditions of the two prisons and conducted interviews with personnel responsible for administration and guarding, prisoners and prison workers, doctors, and storekeepers. Additionally, the team members studied many documents related to the organization of the two prisons and the management of activities in them to monitor the extent of compliance with the Convention against Torture and the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (The Nelson Mandela Rules).[2]
  5. The civil engineer submitted her observations on the main kitchen, water, bathrooms, sanitation, electricity, lighting, space, and capacity.
  6. The sworn criminal investigator also presented her report on the management of prisoner files, prisoners’ personal hygiene, prisoners’ clothing, bedding supplies, inspection of prisoners and cells, communication of prisoners with the outside, inspection operations, and the category of convicted prisoners.
  7. The team of doctors presented their report on the mental and physical health of the prisoners. As for the lawyer’s report, it shed light on the most prominent violations of human rights rules regarding fair trial, obtaining legal advice, and other legal matters.
  8. The most prominent suggestions and recommendations presented by the team of specialists, based on the results of observations and inspections in Tripoli and Zahle prisons, according to the available capabilities under the current circumstances, are as follows:
  • Improving the building and the prisoners’ living conditions, especially with regard to space and capacity, the main kitchen, bathrooms and the sewage system, electricity and lights, heating, ventilation, lighting, and the quality of water for consumption and drinking.
  • Enabling and motivating civil society and civil society organizations to contribute to the development and implementation of rehabilitation and reintegration programs by supporting prison administrations, which already suffer from a shortage of personnel and training.
  • Improving the management of prisoners’ medical files and records, preventing the spread of diseases among prisoners, reinforcing the prison infirmary, giving special consideration to prisoners with disabilities and mental illnesses, and drug addicts and referring them to the appropriate medical care, and most importantly, having psychosocial support programs for all prisoners.
  • Activating the role of the Bar Association, working with public prosecutions, and organizing judges’ visits to prisons to accelerate the provision of prisoners’ civil and legal rights.

 

●               Legal Framework

  1. The National Human Rights Commission that includes the Committee for the Prevention of Torture (NHRC-CPT) draws on the Paris Principles[3] that support the mechanisms of establishment and activity of the National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs), the provisions of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT)[4], adopted on December 18, 2002, which Lebanon joined under Law No. 12 of September 5, 2008, and the provisions of Law No. 62 of October 27, 2016 (establishing the National Human Rights Commission, which includes the Committee for the Prevention of Torture) and its amendments[5], particularly article 26, which stipulates that the Committee shall develop its observations, recommendations, and suggestions on the places of deprivation of liberty and the conditions of persons deprived of their liberty, and shall submit them to the Commission and competent authorities, in order to improve the terms and conditions of deprivation of liberty and the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty, protect, and avoid the vulnerability of such persons to torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Regarding arbitrarily detained persons, the Committee notifies the competent administrative and judicial authorities about their status so that these authorities take adequate legal and judicial proceedings in this regard, in order to put an end to their illegal detention. Through the Commission, the Committee expresses its opinion and provides observations, recommendations, and suggestions regarding the draft laws or suggested amendments on the enforced laws that are related to the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty, their detention, the conditions of places of deprivation of liberty, and the proceedings of a fair trial.
  2. The Commission was established under Decree No. 3267 of June 19, 2018[6]. The Committee was established under Decree No. 5147 of July 5, 2019[7]. The Commission provided a summary of this report in its second annual report for the year 2023[8].
  1. Lebanon has become a party to the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and a party to the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT)[9] in 2008. On September 19, 2017[10], the Lebanese Parliament issued Law No. 65/2017 that criminalizes torture but does not meet Lebanon’s obligations under the United Nations convention[11].
  2. The Committee for the Prevention of Torture operates within the framework of the Commission on protecting the rights of detained persons and those deprived of their liberty in accordance with the provisions of Law No. 62/2016[12],  and in accordance with Lebanon’s obligations under the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment and its Optional Protocol.
  3.  Law No. 62/2016 defines the tasks of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture as follows: The Committee for the Prevention of Torture works within the Commission to protect the rights of the detained and persons who are deprived of their liberty in accordance with the provisions of this law and in accordance with Lebanon’s obligations under the Optional Protocol to the “Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment.” The Committee, in the sense of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture, assumes the functions of the national preventive mechanism, in order to protect the rights of those detained and deprived of their liberty, and it has an independent legal personality in everything related to torture and its prevention. The Committee or whomever it delegates among its members and accompanying staff or contractors have the absolute power to enter and visit all places of deprivation of liberty, their installations, and facilities in Lebanon without any exception, with the aim of protecting the persons present therein from torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and from arbitrary arrest and cooperation with and dialogue with the competent authorities, in order to activate and develop laws and regulations related to detainees and places of deprivation of liberty. The Committee or whomever it delegates among its members can:

a- Carry out periodic or unannounced visits at any time to places of deprivation of liberty without prior notice and without the need for permission from any administrative or judicial authority or any other party.

b- Conduct group or private interviews in private with persons deprived of their liberty, free from any censorship, and in the presence of a Translator if necessary.

c- Meet with any other person who may provide relevant information or assistance that the Committee deems necessary, and exercise an unrestricted power to obtain information in a confidential manner as required by the work of the Committee. It does not publish any of the information without the consent of the owner or source of the information.

d- Receive complaints or interview requests from the aforementioned, or conduct medical examinations. Article 27/b of Law No. 62/2016 also authorizes the Committee for the Prevention of Torture to communicate directly with the United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and to provide it with information when necessary[13], and to meet with it periodically or whenever necessary.

  1. The Commission expresses its concern about the ongoing acts of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in many places of deprivation of liberty in Lebanon, many of them shall be closed, and where detainees shall be moved to less dangerous places, as mentioned in the report of the National Committee for the Prevention of Torture to the United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture[14].
  2. The Committee denies the determination of Lebanese successive governments to keep the reports of the United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture confidential. According to international agreements, the state is entitled to do so. However, many parties, including the United Nations’ subcommittee, encourage authorities to publish their reports, especially when they allege that they have nothing to hide.
  3. Since its inception, the Commission enhanced its performance and work to visit and monitor the places of deprivation of liberty, with the aim of reducing any potential torture cases within these places[15].

●          Methodology

  1. In its discussions with the Lebanese authorities regarding this report, the Commission reserves the right to express more comments on any place visited by the Commission, whether this place is mentioned in this report or not. If the current report lacks any comment about any detention facility or place visited by the Commission, this does not mean that the Commission has a positive or negative view about it.
  2. The report is careful not to include any personal or detailed data that reveal the identity of the victims or witnesses without their consent. The Commission was established to protect and promote human rights in accordance with the standards set forth in the Lebanese Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the international conventions and treaties related to human rights, and the Lebanese laws that are consistent with these standards, in addition to performing the special tasks specified in this law. In this regard, it may communicate independently with international and local bodies concerned with human rights.
  3. The goals of strategic visits were:

(a) Monitor the situation of human rights in detention centers, document the scope of application of the Code of Criminal Procedure, especially the key guarantees, and activate the defence rights, especially the application of the amended article 47 of the Code of Criminal Procedure under Law No. 191/2020.

(b) Document the conditions of prisoners and provide advice and technical assistance to the administration of detention centers on Lebanon’s treaty obligations under the Optional Protocol, taking into account the Guidelines on National Preventive Mechanisms[16].

(c) Visit a number of places of deprivation of liberty to help the Lebanese State meet its obligations effectively under the Optional Protocol, in order to protect the persons deprived of their liberty against the risk of torture and ill-treatment.

  1. Experts conducted thorough monitoring using a detailed form with precise questions. This gathered information on detention center conditions, detainee well-being (health, legal, social), and individual detention rooms. Each visit was documented, and reports were created, including preliminary and evaluation reports. Legal studies were conducted with suggestions, experiences were exchanged, and recommendations as well specific interventions were raised accordingly. This process aimed to identify and address any violations through potential interventions.
  2. Initially, detention center officials hampered the experts’ visits by questioning their authority and requesting verification of their work’s basis. The experts relied on the 2020 ISF memorandum of service and the Public Prosecution Office circular to establish their legitimacy. Over time, collaboration improved as the experts clarified that their role included monitoring conditions for both detainees’ and officials’ socio-economic conditions. This transparency led to better communication, with most detention centers becoming responsive to inquiries and follow-up calls.
  3. Under international law, remedy and reparation must be provided to the victims of torture and ill-treatment; To this end, sound documentation is very important to secure the rights to remedy and reparation. However, the importance of sound documentation of torture and ill-treatment goes beyond this issue. The adequate documentation enables the State parties to better understand what’s happening under their jurisdiction. This combined body of knowledge, including that related to the methods of torture used frequently, the cases where torture has occurred, the perpetrators who commit abuses, and the population at risk of torture, is the essential basis for developing preventive programs according to each case. It also describes the judiciary that must play a major role in punishing the perpetrators of torture and providing reparation to the victims of torture.
  4. During their visits, experts adopted the guidelines included in the updated version of Istanbul Protocol[17], as it is the means to secure obtaining a systematic, strong, and evidence-based description for each form of torture and ill-treatment. The said protocol also provides a systemic approach to evaluate the coherence between the narrative history and clinical outcomes, and enables States to undertake the necessary analysis and use data for preventive purposes. The experts also adobted the methodolgy of the [18]
  5. During its visits, the team abided by the guidelines issued by the United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture[19] on advice relating to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic[20], and the Protocol for national preventive mechanisms[21] undertaking on-site visits during the coronavirus disease COVID-19 pandemic. Since COVID-19 is still prevalent, the National Human Rights Commission acts with due care and reiterates its concern about not maintaining, in many detention centers in Lebanon, the procedures and improvements that had been included in the adopted measures to minimize the impact of the pandemic.
  6. The team of experts abided by the by-laws and Code of Ethics of the National Human Rights Commission including the Committee for the Prevention of Torture[22], which are binding rules to all its members, personnel, employees, representatives of associations, and the rest of persons who cooperate with it to implement its functions. This code of ethics is based on the content of the following instruments: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, the Preamble of the Constitution, the clause b of Law No. 62 of 27/10/2016, the Code of Conduct of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Code of Conduct for Special Procedures Mandate-holders of the Human Rights Council (HRC), the Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct of the World Health Organization (WHO), the Secretary-General’s bulletin on special measures for protection from sexual exploitation and abuse, and the Non-binding Guidelines on the use of Social Media by Judges, issued by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Global Judicial Integrity Network (GJIN).
  7. The team inspected the Tripoli Central Prison for Men on September 15, 2023, and the Zahle Central Prison for Men on September 22, 2023. The members met with the officers, non-commissioned officers, and personnel responsible for managing and guarding the two prisons, along with several prisoners and prison workers, doctors, associations, and storekeepers.
  8. These two inspections were preceded by two preliminary visits, the first to Tripoli Prison for Men on August 28, 2023, and the second to Zahle Prison on September 20, 2023. During these visits, the lawyer assigned by NHRC spoke with the prison directors to collect information and prepare for the full team’s visit.
  1. Each specialist drafted a section related to their field of specialization, based on human rights standards relevant to prisons, detention of liberty, and international human rights.
  2. The inspection included various parts of the two prisons, including the kitchen, the solitary (disciplinary) cell, the guard rooms, the corridors, the outer courtyard, the exercise courtyard, the visitors’ hall, the meeting rooms with the legal representatives, and the officers’ offices. The prison inspection team adopted a scientific methodology that included:

(a) Monitoring prison conditions, including rooms (prison cells), bathrooms, corridors, solitary (disciplinary) cells, the kitchen, warehouses, the outer courtyard and the exercise courtyard, the visitors’ hall, the storeroom, the officers’ offices, and the guard rooms.

(b) Examining documents and papers related to the organization of the prison and the management of activities therein, prisoners’ records, service records, medical records, etc.

(c) Meeting with the director of the prison and several of its officers.

(d) Interviewing several prisoners and listening to their statements and complaints.

(e) Assessing the extent of compliance with human rights standards related to prisons and deprivation of liberty.

Team members during a visit to Tripoli Prison

●          Description of Tripoli and Zahle Prisons

○             Tripoli Prison

  1. According to the Directorate of Prisons of the Lebanese Ministry of Justice, Tripoli Prison – Al-Qubba is located in the Al-Qubba area, within the Internal Security Forces complex and includes two floors, the ground and the first. The ground floor consists of eight rooms in which prisoners are housed, and an external corridor along the length of the rooms. The room area ranges between 55 and 60 sqm.
  2. The prison’s capacity ranges between 450 to 500 prisoners, while the total number of prisoners is 802, including 711 detainees and 91 convicts, about 40% of foreign nationalities.
  3. The number of personnel working in the prison is 108, including 13 females, 8 of whom are civilian contractors.
  4. Riots and uprisings often occur in the prison due to power outages and generator breakdowns. The last major riot occurred in 2021.

○             Zahle Prison

  1. According to the Directorate of Prisons of the Lebanese Ministry of Justice[23], Zahle Prison – Bekaa is located in the industrial city. The prison was rehabilitated approximately 15 years ago and was a chicken farm before that (according to the prison director). The prison consists of two floors, the ground floor, and the first floor, and contains 33 cells separated by corridors. There are two types of rooms: the large rooms (C) have an area of about 70 sqm, and the small rooms (S) have an area of about 20 sqm. The large rooms have a bathroom, and the small rooms have a small kitchen and bathroom.
  2. The prison’s capacity ranges between 250 to 300 prisoners, while actually there are 760 prisoners, who have not been separated by crime. Some of the prisoners are of foreign nationalities, such as Syrian, Bangladeshi, Palestinian, and Turkish. According to prison laws, no one sentenced to more than seven years is supposed to be placed in Zahle Prison, but the reality is different, as there are people sentenced to life and death sentences. Additionally, there have been people in pre-trial detention for eleven years without trial, on charges of drug trafficking.
  3. The number of personnel working in the prison is 110, including 4 females who work in the offices on a shift basis, and 4 responsible for guarding the prisoners.
  4. The riots occurred in October 2023 after several prisoners detained an officer and set fires that spread to the upper floors of the building.

 

Table 1 – Some details related to Tripoli and Zahle prisons
Tripoli Prison Zahle Prison
Number of administrative employees 108 110
Number of female personnel 13 4
Maximum capacity 500 406
Number of prisoners 802 760

 

●          Outcomes

○             Observations of the Civil Engineer

  1. There are about 55 prisoners in each room of Tripoli Prison, which means an area of about 1.5 sqm per prisoner. This area is considered a violation of international standards, which stipulate an area of 3.4 sqm per prisoner.[24] Each room includes a bathroom and a kitchen whose combined area does not exceed 8 sqm. Each room also contains a refrigerator, a television, and about 8 to 12 fans, some of which are working, and others are not. As for lights, their number varies between rooms. Some rooms contain one light, while others contain 2 or 3. There are no beds inside the rooms, only mattresses placed on the floor, which the prisoners use to sleep, and their length ranges between 50 centimeters and 1 meter. There is no space between the mattresses, which is a violation of the Mandela Rules (Rule 13 and Rule 21). There are no lockers in Tripoli Prison to place prisoners’ belongings, only shelves designated for this purpose. As for the exercise courtyard, its area is about 100 sqm. The prisoners in each room go out to the courtyard for two hours, i.e. in rotation between the rooms. As for solitary (disciplinary) cells, there are 6 (3 cells on each floor, with a shared bathroom for every 3 cells). The area of each solitary cell is about 2 sqm, and there are no ventilation openings in these cells.

Prisoners in Tripoli prison rooms

  1. The area of the large room (C) is about 70m and there are about 40 prisoners in it, which means an area of about 1.75 sqm per prisoner. As for the small rooms (S), their area is about 20 sqm and there are about 14 prisoners in them, which means an area of about 1.40 sqm per prisoner.[25] In addition to these rooms, there are 6 rooms, each with an area of about 8 sqm, and each containing 6 prisoners, i.e. an area of about 1.3 sqm per prisoner. Each of these rooms includes a kitchen and two bathrooms: one is used as a bathroom and the other is used for washing utensils and dishes on its floor, as there is no sink in the kitchen. There is a small stovetop heater used to heat food in all the kitchens of the rooms. Each room contains a refrigerator, TV, and two fans. As for lights, their number varies between rooms, as some rooms contain one light and others contain 2 or 3. There are no beds inside the cells. There are no beds inside the rooms, only mattresses placed on the floor, which the prisoners use to sleep, and their length ranges between 50 centimeters and 1 meter. Additionally, there is no space between the mattresses, which is a violation of the Mandela Rules (Rule 13 and Rule 21). There are no lockers to store prisoners’ belongings, only cardboard boxes hung on the wall designated for this purpose (Photo 4). As for the exercise courtyard in Zahle Prison, its area is about 330 sqm. Any of the prisoners can go out into the courtyard from 10 AM until 3 PM. There is one solitary cell, 18 sqm in size and containing a bathroom.

 

 

 

Prisoners in Zahle prison rooms

 

 

Cardboard boxes in Zahle prison rooms

 

 

  1. A sample of the water from the two prisons was tested in the water analysis laboratories of the Ministry of Agriculture, at the Lebanese Agricultural Research Institute, located in Fanar, Lebanon. The main results of the microbial and physicochemical analyses of the water issued on September 22, 2023, for Zahle Prison and on September 25, 2023, for Tripoli Prison are summarized in the following table and indicate that the water does not conform to the Libnor specifications, especially the microbial analyses.

 

Table 2 – Results of microbial and physicochemical analyses of water from Tripoli and Zahle prisons
  Results of microbial analyses of water Results of physicochemical analyses of water
Tripoli prison Sample does not conform to Lebanese specifications because it contains harmful bacteria: coliforms count, heat-tolerant coliforms, enterococci, and pseudomonas aeruginosa, the percentage of which exceeds the maximum permissible limit according to LIBNOR. Sample conforming to Lebanese specifications
Zahle prison Sample does not conform to Lebanese specifications because it contains harmful bacteria: coliforms count, heat-tolerant coliforms, enterococci, and pseudomonas aeruginosa, the percentage of which exceeds the maximum permissible limit according to LIBNOR. Sample conforming to Lebanese specifications
  1. Tripoli Prison: Water remains running in the kitchen and bathroom of the rooms, as the sink taps have been removed from their place. There is a private water well for the prison 250 m in depth and pumps that pump water to fill the available 15 tanks with a capacity of 2000 liters. Prisoners drink from a water hose in the corridor. Hot water is available through solar heaters located on the roof of the building.
  2. Zahle Prison: The lieutenant who accompanied the team on its tour reported that a water test had previously been conducted and results showed that the water contained feces. Additionally, the water filters are broken, and chlorine is added to the four tanks that supply the building. Drinking water is not available to prisoners except if purchased. If a prisoner is unable to afford water, he is forced to drink unsafe water, which is considered a violation of Rule 22 of the Mandela Rules. Hot water has not been available for six years (in violation of Rule 16 of the Mandela Rules) due to a malfunction in the solar heaters located on the roof of the building. The prisoners heat the water by connecting two wires to a small heater and placing it in the water, which poses a great danger to their lives.
  3. Each room in Tripoli Prison contains a kitchen and one bathroom. Each bathroom consists of a hole in the ground (Arab squat toilet). It should be noted that there is no door separating the bathroom and the kitchen, they are separated only by a curtain. There are about 55 prisoners per room, all of whom use one bathroom. Sewage odors emanate throughout the rooms, indicating a lack of sewage maintenance.

Bathrooms in Tripoli Men’s Prison

Bathrooms in Zahle Men’s Prison

 

  1. Each room in Zahle Prison contains a kitchen and two bathrooms: one is used as a bathroom and the other is used for washing utensils and dishes on its floor due to the lack of a sink in the kitchen. Each bathroom consists of a squat toilet. It should be noted that there is a door separating the bathroom from the rest of the room. There are about 40 prisoners in the large room (C), taking turns to use one bathroom, which is considered a violation of Rule 15 of the Mandela Rules and international standards, which stipulate that the number of persons using one bathroom must not exceed 10 persons. As in Tripoli Prison, sewage odors emanate throughout the rooms.  
  2. There are three electrical generators in Tripoli Men’s Prison, two with a capacity of 500 kVA each and one with a capacity of 250 kVA. The 250 kVA generator is out of commission and needs maintenance because of continuous malfunctions, according to the head of maintenance, as the generators were not inspected by the NHRC team. As for the two 500 kVA generators, they work alternately. The main electrical panel, 3-phase 800, is located near the prison entrance, in the room containing the scanner. The electrical wires inside the rooms are exposed, unsafe, and in need of complete maintenance. As for lights, some rooms have one light, and others have two or three. While most of the lights in the corridors are not working and need maintenance.
  3. There are two generators in Zahle Men’s Prison, each with a capacity of 250 kVA. The electricity in the Zahle area is secured 24/24 and in the event of an outage, the generators provide power, and the Ministry of Justice pays the prison’s electricity bill. There are three electrical panels in poor condition, each plugged into the main electrical panel outside. Each of the panels feeds a wing of the building. The electrical wires inside the building are exposed, unsafe, and in need of maintenance. It is worth noting that during the team’s visit to the building, there was an electrical maintenance team consisting of 4 workers carrying out maintenance work on the first floor, including maintaining the panel, electrical wires, and lighting. The team was told that UNDP had funded a $200,000 maintenance project for electrical panels, wiring, and lighting (Photo 7). As for lights, some rooms have one light, while others have two or three. As for the corridors, most of the lights are not working and need maintenance, which is considered a violation of Rule 14-b of the Mandela Rules.

 

Electrical wires inside Zahle Men’s Prison

  1. Most of the rooms in Zahle Men’s Prison have two ventilation holes and little or insufficient natural light leaks in, which is considered a violation of Rule 14-a of the Mandela Rules. The ventilation system inside the building works, but the ventilation holes inside the rooms are small and insufficient given the area of the rooms and the large crowding inside them. The humidity level is high in the bathrooms and inside the cells, and leaking has been observed on the ceiling and the walls. According to the prison director, the prison building was a chicken farm, so heating was and still is centralized in the ground.
  2. In all the kitchens of the rooms in Tripoli Prison, there is a small stovetop heater used to heat food, and at the same time, it is the only means of heating in winter. Each room has two openings at the top of the wall, but there is no natural light leaking into the rooms. The humidity level is high in the bathroom and kitchen, which leads to the swarming of insects. The ventilation system inside the building is not working and needs maintenance. According to the technician who inspected it, the ventilation holes inside the cells must be repaired, and the bearings and belts must be replaced. The cost of maintaining the ventilation system was estimated at $10,000, according to the prison’s head of maintenance.
  3. The kitchen in Tripoli Prison consists of three sections: the entrance, which contains the sink measuring 1m×1.2m (photo 8), the refrigerator, a room for storing supplies, and the room that contains the oven. The kitchen equipment is limited to stoves, an electric oven and a hood. Most of the pots are in poor condition due to wear and tear. The size of the sink does not allow large kitchenware to be placed for cleaning, so they are cleaned on the floor. The hood and the lights are not working. In addition, there is an electrical panel close to the electric oven, which poses a threat to public safety. Hot water is not available in Tripoli Prison due to a malfunction in the kitchen water heater. When needed, water is heated in a pot using an electric stovetop.
  4. The kitchen in Zahle Men’s Prison contains three refrigerators for storage, and each refrigerator has an electrical panel to control its functioning and to set the temperature, three countertops with stainless tables and shelves to place equipment, a working hood in good condition, six gas stove heads for cooking[26], a gas tank and gas bottles on the side of the kitchen to be used when necessary. Four employees work in the kitchen: a civilian chef and three military personnel.
  5. There is no hot water in both prisons’ kitchen, and the available running water is used for cooking[27].

The countertop in the main kitchen in Tripoli Men’s Prison

 

The kitchen inside the rooms in the Tripoli Men’s Prison

 

 

The kitchen inside the rooms in Zahle Men’s Prison

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The main kitchen in Zahle Men’s Prison (which is used to prepare meals for all the detention centers in the Bekaa region)

Getting water supplies in Zahle Men’s Prison

Getting water supplies in Tripoli Men’s Prison

○    Observations of the Criminal Investigator

  1. The information is entered into the BASEM unified system to manage the prisoners’ files upon their admission. The program is also kept in the prison’s judicial registry to ensure the confidentiality of all records (Rule 6, 9).
  2. Both prison directors of the Tripoli and Zahle Men’s Prisons did not have adequate information regarding the nature of the information inputted into the system and whether it includes the information stipulated in Rules 7 and 8 of the Mandela Rules, and whether the system is updated with information including the initial assessment of the prisoner, conduct, discipline, etc.
  3. Tripoli and Zahle prisons suffer from a shortage of basic hygiene supplies and detergents. Due to a lack of funding and high prices of goods, the prison administration is no longer able to provide prisoners with the supplies needed for health, hygiene, and proper care of hair, teeth, and body, which indicates a violation of Rule 18 of the Mandela Rules. Health and hygiene kits are often provided to prisoners through their relatives (from the store) and NGOs.
  4. The shower facilities in Tripoli Prison are insufficient and do not maintain privacy. Prisoners cannot relieve themselves, when necessary, in a clean and decent manner.
  5. Prisoners in Tripoli and Zahle prisons are allowed to wear their personal clothes items, but with the administration’s declining ability to provide adequate and effective laundry detergents, many prisoners are forced to wash their clothes individually, and not resort to the prison’s laundry room. Several prisoners therefore lack decent and clean clothing, which constitutes a violation of Rules 19, 20, and 21 of the Mandela Rules.
  6. The procedures for searching prisoners and rooms in Tripoli and Zahle prisons comply with the Mandela Rules (Rule 50), and the prison administration also maintains records of “minutes” in which the search procedures, the reasons behind them, and any ensuing results are recorded. In the interview conducted with the prison warden, the latter indicated that body cavities are not searched under any circumstances.
  7. Prisoners in Tripoli and Zahle prisons are allowed to contact their families and friends (Rule 58), but family visits face many challenges and difficulties.
  • Tripoli Prison contains 8 public telephones, and Zahle Prison contains 11 telephones. Families of prisoners and NGOs provide public telephone cards. Any prisoner can use the phone inside the prison in a room designated for public phones (Telecarte and Kalam) without the need to obtain permission, provided that he respects his turn. Public telephones may be used from Monday to Friday, from 8:00 AM until 3:30 PM for a maximum period of twenty minutes. The prisoner can also call a mobile phone number. According to the prison lieutenant, the administration does not monitor phone calls. It is worth noting that these telephone calls face many challenges and difficulties, the most important of which is the severe overcrowding on the phones and the prisoners waiting for hours before their turn arrives.
  • Prisoners in Tripoli and Zahle prisons have the right to receive their families during the specified visiting days. There is no designated visitor center other than the visiting hall. Families wait outside the prison before the visit begins, and admission of visitors to the prison facility is subject to their agreement to submit to search (Rule 60). Visitors are searched manually, while a scanner[28] is used to search luggage and bags to detect metals and drugs. There is no room for the prisoner to meet his family, as the prisoners meet their visitors behind an iron and glass barrier in two visitation rooms. Communication is done by phone, as there are 14 phones in the visiting hall in Tripoli Prison. In Zahle Prison, there are 13 intercoms in the first room and 8 in the second room. There are officers in each room, one from each side. There is no clear view through the glass barrier in the two prisons, and there is little individual privacy. Therefore, the place designated for visitations is not suitable for family visits, and the hall is not suitable in terms of cleanliness, comfort, and furniture.

Where prisoners meet their visitors in Tripoli Men’s Prison

 

 

 

Where prisoners meet their visitors in  Zahle Men’s Prison

  1. The store service is available to prisoners and their families in Tripoli and Zahle prisons. The Prisons Directorate organizes an annual auction to award private companies the management of the store. The store is also inspected by the Ministries of Health and Economy regularly, according to the prison’s director. The store provides the needs of prisoners as determined by the prison administration through lists showing the items and prices. Razor blades and perfume (cologne) cannot be purchased from the store. Prisoners in Tripoli and Zahle prisons buy from the store through their families or one of the security personnel, where a record of purchases and financial accounts are kept, and invoices are issued to the prisoners and their families.
    1. Shop prices in Tripoli Prison are similar to market prices and are subject to oversight by the prison administration and the Ministry of Economy.
    2. Prisoners in Zahle Prison often complain about the store service in terms of high prices or poor quality, even though there is confirmation from the lieutenant in charge of the prison that the prices and quality are subject to control by the prison administration.
  2. Prisons in Lebanon are still under the authority of the Ministry of the Interior (Article 1 of Decree 14310) despite the decrees issued in 1964[29] and 1983[30] regarding the transfer of the Directorate of Prisons from the custody of the Internal Security Forces to the Ministry of Justice, noting that a national strategy has been adopted to begin the transfer of the Directorate pursuant to Council of Ministers Resolution No. 34 dated 3/7/2012, which provided the necessary mechanism to transfer the authority to supervise prisons to the Ministry of Justice. Therefore, the process of selecting, training, and testing prison staff does not comply with the Mandela Rules (Rules 74-80). Prison staff are not selected according to their academic and professional competence to work, and they are military and non-civilian. Prison staff in Lebanon consist of officers, non-commissioned officers, and members of the Internal Security Forces[31] − a national police force whose members do not receive adequate training to work as prison employees. Some training courses are provided by non-governmental organizations, but this training is inconsistent, irregular, and lacks physical training for security personnel to curb prisoners with violent behavior.
  1. One hundred soldiers and six officers serve in the Tripoli Men’s Prison, in addition to the presence of two female employees from the Directorate of Prisons in the Ministry of Justice who work in the judicial registry[32]. The majority of vehicles used to transport prisoners in Tripoli Prison require maintenance. Out of the 12 vehicles, only 3 are operational. The prison lacks appropriate and sufficient security monitoring systems, and the prison director took an individual initiative at his expense and placed several cameras at sensitive points.
  1. One hundred and ten (110) non-commissioned and commissioned officers serve in Zahle Prison, in addition to two female employees from the Directorate of Prisons in the Ministry of Justice who work in the judicial registry. The process of selecting, training, and testing prison staff does not comply with the Mandela Rules (Rules 74-82). The majority of vehicles used to transport prisoners require maintenance[33]. The prison lacks appropriate and adequate security monitoring systems and an emergency system. There is no fire system in the prison building, and fire extinguishers are unusable.

Fire extinguishers in Zahle prison

  1. Neither the director of Tripoli Prison nor the lieutenant in charge of Zahle Prison have any information about the existence of any system of regular inspections in the prison or about external inspection procedures. Since the Director of Tripoli Prison took over in August 2023 and the lieutenant in charge of Zahle Prison in 2019, no inspection has been carried out by a judge or anyone else (Rules 83, 84, and 85), noting that Article 402 of the Code of Criminal Procedure obliges the attorney general at the Court of Appeal, the financial public prosecutor,  the investigating judge, and the single criminal judge to inspect, once a month, the persons in places of detention and prisons affiliated with their area of jurisdiction.
  2. Both prisons do not have any educational, vocational, or sports programs or activities[34] (Rules 8 and 108). Inmates mainly rely on non-governmental organizations to organize activities and rehabilitation[35] and legal and awareness-raising services. Therefore, these services remain insufficient to meet the needs of all prisoners.
  3. Prisoners in Zahle Prison are no longer provided with any kind of books after the library in the prison was burned in 2020 (Rule 64). A representative of the Islamic and Christian religions is appointed, and each prisoner is permitted to perform his religious duties (Rules 65 and 66).  Valuables belonging to a prisoner shall be deposited with his family based on a signed inventory report (Rule 67).

○              

○             Observations of the Medical Team

  1. Both prisons have an infirmary with different clinics for various purposes (Rule 24) in addition to a gynecology clinic and a mental health and dental clinic (Rule 25)[36].
  2. The prison staff lacks a sufficient number of public health doctors, specialists, psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers.
  3. There is a nurse in the prison infirmary during the day and at night, and another nurse supervises the prison pharmacy that provides medications for chronic diseases[37].
  4. A medical file is opened for each prisoner as soon as he comes to the infirmary in both prisons. The date of his admission to prison is recorded and all consultations are dated along with the diagnosis and treatment provided (Rule 26)[38] while maintaining medical confidentiality as no one has the right to view the prisoner’s medical file except doctors and nurses.
  5. It was observed in both prisons that no system strictly maintains medical confidentiality (Rule 32, b and c), that the prisoner was not subject to a medical examination upon entering to screen him for diseases and illnesses, and the possibility of the presence of a contagious disease, that the prisoner is not taken to the infirmary until after he falls sick, which is very dangerous, especially if he has a contagious disease (Rule 30, d).
  6. Some private institutions and non-governmental organizations working in the field of mental health carry out psychological examinations of prisoners to evaluate their mental health and refer them to mental health clinics if necessary (Rule 30, c).
  7. There is little follow-up of addict patients in both prisons by mental health doctors. They are given a morphine-like substance under the tongue to relieve and soothe emotions, symptoms, and signs of withdrawal.
  8. There are no special medical procedures for prisoners with disabilities to cater to their needs, and there is no documentation of the number of prisoners with special needs who suffer from physical and sensory disabilities or mental retardation.
  9. There are no specialists who deal professionally with addicted prisoners in Tripoli and Zahle prisons. If symptoms are severe, addicts are transferred to specialized centers such as the Blue Building in Roumieh Prison, Dr. Rasheed Sikawi Hospital in Chekka, the Psychiatric Hospital of the Cross (Hôpital Psychiatrique de la Croix), or Bhannes Hospital (Rule 27 and Rule 30, c).
  10. Awareness campaigns and educational lectures (with no pamphlet distribution) are organized in Tripoli and Zahle prisons about chronic diseases, infectious diseases, oral and dental diseases, and how to prevent them, by the Ministry of Public Health and some non-governmental organizations.
  11. Very rudimentary precautions were taken in Tripoli Men’s Prison to prevent the spread of the COVID pandemic among prisoners by providing a face mask and isolating the prisoner in a small room (1m x 2m) (Rule 35, b, c, d). New prisoners arriving at Zahle Prison were also subjected to a PCR test.
  12. In Tripoli and Zahle prisons, there are physical and psychological examination rooms for men and others for women that contain machines for examining psychological disorders[39] (Rule 25).
  13. In both prisons, no notes related to the mental health of prisoners are recorded in their medical files, although there are pages within the file dedicated to that purpose.
  14. There are no special places in Tripoli Prison where a prisoner who suffers from severe psychological behavior is placed. Rather, he is isolated in a small single room until a mental health consultation[40].
  15. Both prisons have mild analgesic medication to treat cases of psychological illness (Deanxit), which is provided through associations or by the family of the sick prisoner.
  16. Visits to prisoners in both prisons are extended for ten minutes, twice a week, through very thick windows (Rule 106), despite the existence of a law stipulating that the duration of visits should be a quarter of an hour[41].
  17. There are no cases of torture in Tripoli Prison according to the prison director (Rule 34). The director of Zahle Prison stated that employees are required to use force in certain circumstances, without providing further details, which constitutes a violation of Law 90/17, which prohibits security forces from using unnecessary violence.
  18. Psychological care is available in Tripoli Prison upon request, through RESTART for Syrian prisoners and in special cases for Lebanese prisoners.

○              

○             Observations of the Legal Advisor

  1. Prisoners convicted of criminal offenses are not separated from those imprisoned for financial or civil offenses in Tripoli and Zahle prisons (Rule 11).
  2. The prisoner is left in detention for an indefinite period without being promptly brought before the court, which constitutes a violation of the Code of Criminal Procedure regarding the duration of pretrial detention (Article 108 of the Code of Criminal Procedure).
  3. There is a significant level of security control in the prisons despite the current situation and overcrowding.
  4. There is no designated place for lawyers to meet with detainees in private to ensure the confidentiality of legal consultations and for a sufficient duration that allows the detainee to clarify all the circumstances of his case with his lawyer.
  5. Lawyers do not request special permission that allows them to meet with the arrested client in private because this request is limited to the Public Prosecutor, and prisons are not equipped with spaces designated for these meetings, in addition to the lack of a sufficient number of personnel to ensure their organization.
  6. Failure to activate the role of the Bar Association inside the prison and to provide a hotline for legal assistance.
  7. Failure to provide administrative facilities to enable the detainee to submit requests for release through the judicial registry in the prison.

●          Recommendations

○              General Recommendations

  1. Reducing the number of prisoners in both prisons and respecting the numbers allowed inside the room.
  2. Providing basic furniture, including beds, blankets, sheets, pillows, clothes, personal hygiene items, cleaning materials, and tools.
  3. Repairing the water heater, maintaining exposed electrical wires, and covering them with cable covers, replacing faulty lighting inside the rooms and in the corridors, renewing the fire extinguishers, regular maintenance of the sewers, repairing the entire ventilation system and expanding the ventilation openings to fit the size of the rooms.
  4. Cleaning of prison rooms and painting of the walls. Installing extractor fans to avoid moisture, mold, and green, gray, and blue stains that appear on the ceilings and walls of kitchens and bathrooms.
  5. Repairing prisoners’ transport vehicles.

○              

○             Recommendations regarding Tripoli Prison

  1. replacing the solitary confinement cells with other rooms (at least to ensure ventilation), creating a second sink in the main kitchen larger than the existing sink, repairing the extractor hood, providing new pots and cooking equipment, and moving the electrical panel from the kitchen to another place that does not pose a risk to public safety. Separating the bathroom from the kitchen inside the rooms with a wall and a door instead of a curtain. Repairing the 250 kVA generator, maintaining the 500 kVA generator, and providing appropriate heating means for the winter season.
  2. Encouraging education, vocational training, and rehabilitation programs within the prison, in addition to promoting prisoner employment and providing post-release services to facilitate the social reintegration of prisoners.
  3. Submitting a draft law to activate the role of social associations and bodies and the Ministry of Education, according to Decree 49/14310, to create places that allow communication between people deprived of liberty and the outside world, in addition to allocating a place for visits to help prisoners maintain family relationships.
  4. Providing prison administrations with technical and practical guidance on how to initiate or strengthen rehabilitation programs in close coordination with other (non-)state actors, including civil society and the private sector. In addition to providing ongoing training for prison staff on various topics such as communication, conflict resolution, and the treatment of prisoners with disabilities and juveniles.
  5. Digitization of medical files and records to improve accessibility and security.
  6. Ensuring access of concerned individuals to the PHENICS network launched by the Ministry of Public Health in primary health care centers.
  7. Subjecting prisoners to a medical examination upon entering prison and creating a medical file to identify prisoners with physical or psychological illnesses or drug addicts and refer them to appropriate medical care or provide alternative treatments when needed.
  8. Ensuring thorough follow-up by the nurse of intake of mandatory medications to avoid overdose or insufficient treatment.
  9. Considering the prison dispensary as one of the primary healthcare facilities accredited by the Ministry of Public Health, benefiting from monthly in-kind donations and medicines provided by the Ministry.
  10. Improving the salaries of attending doctors to motivate them to work and fulfill their duties. Improving the inadequate “solitary” isolation process, as isolation rooms must be more spacious and ventilated.
  11. Adopting special considerations for prisoners with physical or psychological disabilities, organizing physical activities for prisoners, providing rehabilitation programs for the concerned prisoners, giving importance to the geographical distance between the prison and the prisoner’s family to facilitate visits, which positively impacts the mental and emotional health of the prisoner, ensuring face-to-face communication between the prisoners and their loved ones during the permitted visits, and increasing the length of visitation time, as the high cost of transportation makes frequent visits difficult and impossible.  Providing the dispensary with psychiatric tools, mild and strong sedatives, and medications for depression. Undertaking regular and careful monitoring of disciplinary procedures and looking into the possibility of misuse of force by the forces responsible for prison security. Providing psychosocial support programs for prisoners[42].

○              

○               Recommendations regarding Zahle Prison

  1. Medical and psychological evaluation and intervention for prisoners, since, according to the prison director, 90% of the inmates were indicted of drug trafficking charges and 30% of them use drugs.
  2. Activating the role of the Bar Association by ensuring periodic visits to the prison and verifying that the judicial registry carries out its tasks in terms of facilitating the submission of release requests, especially in misdemeanor cases, as well as providing legal assistance and operating the hotline.
  3. Enabling visits of judges to prisons to expedite trials and decide on requests for release.
  4. Reforming legislation, policies, and practices related to pretrial detention and activating alternative penalties.

●          Conclusion and Key Actions

  1. Both buildings of the Tripoli and Zahle prisons are not fit to function as prisons, as highlighted in the reports of experts, due to a lack of respect for the first five rules mentioned by Nelson Mandela relevant to human dignity.
  2. The conditions in which prisoners are placed are appalling and degrading, in terms of overcrowding, old infrastructure, as well as the legal, psychological, social, and medical conditions of prisoners.
  3. Since the prison does not meet the minimum requirements to qualify for detaining, rehabilitating, and reintegrating prisoners, it is better to replace it with a building that meets the conditions stipulated in local and international laws.
  4. Since this is not currently possible, some modifications should be made to alleviate the suffering of prisoners, guards, and prisoners’ families. The main necessary and feasible improvements are divided into two parts: the first is related to willpower and cooperation, while the second involves securing material and human resources, as well as the legal and practical framework for improving prison conditions to approach compliance with human rights standards.
  5. The main key actions related to willpower and cooperation include:
      1. Establishing a mechanism to conduct a regular and accurate assessment of the needs of prisoners,
      2. Continuous training for prison staff on various topics such as communication, problem-solving, and treatment of prisoners with disabilities,
      3. Communicating and coordinating with the Bar Association to activate its role within the prison and provide a hotline for legal assistance to work on securing the legal rights of prisoners, while emphasizing the need for judges to visit the prison.
      4. Monitoring the disciplinary measures adopted by the prison administration to ensure a distinction between disciplinary measures and abuse of power, supporting activities to raise awareness about prison conditions in Lebanon, and securing dedicated funding to improve the living conditions of prisoners.
  6. The key actions related to securing resources include:
      1. Treating the water by installing a water purifier (filter) to conform to the specifications.
      2. Improving the building by painting the walls, rehabilitating the toilets, the kitchen, the rooms in which the prisoners are kept and the visitation rooms.
      3. Improving the living conditions of prisoners in terms of cleanliness, heating, ventilation, and lighting.
      4. Providing incentives for health and medical personnel concerned with the physical, psychological, and emotional health of prisoners.
      5. Providing the necessary medical equipment and medicines.

 

●          Annexes

○             Annex 1 – Water test results in Tripoli Men’s Prison

○              

○              

○             Annex 2 – Water test results in Zahle Men’s Prison

Back cover photo:Electrical wires inside the Zahle Men’s Prison building.

Detention centers are playing now the role of prisons, although they don’t meet yet the required standards for prolonged detention. The detainees in all detention centers in Lebanon are subjected to many violations that are mainly due to a severe overcrowding in these centers, which affects health and legal conditions and justice proceedings, and reduces capacity to secure enough food for all.

Contact us | International Key Center – 3rd Floor, Jisr El Basha Street, Hazmieh, Mount Lebanon | Email: CONTACT@NHRCLB.ORG | Hotline: 009613923456 | X Platform: HTTPS://WWW.INSTAGRAM.COM/NHRC_LB  | Twitter: HTTPS://TWITTER.COM/NHRCLB

[1] The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the National Human Rights Commission including the Committee for the Prevention of Torture and do not necessarily represent the views of Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF).

[2] UN Document, 70/175. United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules), A/RES/70/175 , 8 January 2016

https://www.unodc.org/documents/justice-and-prison-reform/Nelson_Mandela_Rules-E-ebook.pdf

[3] Paris Principles, https://nhrclb.org/paris-principles

[4] The Optional Protocol, https://nhrclb.org/optional-protocol

[5] Law No. 62/2016, https://nhrclb.org/law62

[6] Establishment of National Human Rights Commission that includes the Committee for the Prevention of Torture. Type of text: Decree | No. 3267 – Date: 19/06/2018, https://nhrclb.org/decree-3267

[7] Decree of Establishment of the Committee – Establishment of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture. Type of text: Decree | No. 5147 – Date: 05/07/2019, https://nhrclb.org/decree-5147

[8] Annual Report of the National Human Rights Commission for the year 2023, https://en.nhrclb.org/archives/475

[9] The Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT) was adopted on December 18, 2002 at the 57th session of the United Nations General Assembly under Resolution,199/57/A/RES, June 22, 2006, https://nhrclb.org/optional-protocol

[10] Law No. 65/2017 on the Punishment of Torture, and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, https://nhrclb.org/law-65

[11] Expressing opinion on amendments related to Law No. 65 on the Criminalization of Torture and Punishment of Perpetrators, https://nhrclb.org/archives/1908

[12] Law No. 62/2016, Part Three: “Functions and Powers of the Commission and the Committee”, Section Four: “Functions and Powers of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture”, Articles 22-27.

[13] Report of the National Committee for the Prevention of Torture in Lebanon to the United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture for the year 2022, https://nhrclb.org/archives/1674

[14] Report of the National Committee for the Prevention of Torture in Lebanon to the United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture, May 22, 2022, https://nhrclb.org/archives/1674

[15] Places of deprivation of liberty in Lebanon under the jurisdiction of the National Committee for the Prevention of Torture, https://nhrclb.org/places-of-deprivation-of-liberty-in-lebanon

[16] Guidelines on National Preventive Mechanisms | National Human Rights Commission-Lebanon

https://en.nhrclb.org/guidelines-on-national-preventive-mechanisms

[17] Istanbul Protocol: Manual on the Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (2022 edition), https://www.ohchr.org/en/publications/policy-and-methodological-publications/istanbul-protocol-manual-effective-0

[18] Nashaba Omar, Lebanese Prison Inspection Manual, Lebanon Criminal Justice Development Project, Prison System Development, First Edition 2010, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Publications https://pa.justice.gov.lb/cont/files/prison-inspection-index.pdf

[19] Advice of the Subcommittee to States parties and national preventive mechanisms relating to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, https://undocs.org/ar/CAT/OP/10

[20] Follow-up advice of the Subcommittee to States parties and national preventive mechanisms relating to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, https://undocs.org/ar/CAT/OP/12

[21] Protocol for national preventive mechanisms undertaking on-site visits during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

pandemic,

[22] The Code of Ethics of the National Human Rights Commission including the Committee for the Prevention of Torture https://en.nhrclb.org/code-of-ethics

[23] The Directorate of Prisons of the Lebanese Ministry of Justice

https://pa.justice.gov.lb/

[24] Pier Giorgio Nembrini, International Committee of the Red Cross, Water, sanitation, hygiene  and habitat in prisons, February 2013,  https://www.icrc.org/en/doc/assets/files/other/icrc-002-0823.pdf

[25] As previously mentioned, this is considered a violation of international standards, which stipulate an area of 3.4 sqm per prisoner according to ICRC STANDARDS.

[26] The underground gas installations are connected to a gas tank located on the roof of the building. The amount of gas used per month is about 700 liters.

[27] It was previously mentioned that the water was tested and found to contain animal feces.

[28] Visitors and luggage are manually searched in Zahle Prison due to a malfunction of the scanner.

[29] Decree No. 17315 was issued on August 28, 1964, which established the “Directorate of Prisons” and linked it directly to the Minister of Justice.

[30] Article 29 of Legislative Decree No. 151 of September 16, 1983 (regulating the Ministry of Justice) stipulates that the Directorate of Prisons is concerned with the affairs of prisoners, their care and rehabilitation, and the implementation of prison regulations.

[31] Decree No. 1157 defines the structural organization of the Internal Security Forces (ISF), and Law 17 of the Internal Security Forces stipulates that the role of the ISF inside prisons is limited to “guarding and managing prisons when necessary.”

[32] Information obtained by the team during the interview conducted with the prison director during the visit on September 15, 2023.

[33] Of the 5 vehicles in Zahle prison, only one works, and exclusively inside Zahle.

[34] Activities in Tripoli Prison are limited to a workshop with only 12 prisoners, supervised by officers from the security forces.

[35] The RESTART Foundation provides several psychological support programs and social and legal services in Tripoli Prison that aim to evaluate the conditions of prisoners to determine who will be included in the programs.

[36] It was noted in Tripoli Prison that there was a dentist during the official working hours. This doctor performs simple medical procedures such as removing tooth decay or tooth extraction.

[37] It is worth noting that the Ministry of Public Health does not provide medicines to the prison pharmacy like other primary health care centers, but there are non-governmental organizations that cooperate with the prison pharmacy and clinic to secure their supplies, such as the RESTART Foundation and the AMEL Foundation.

[38] It should be noted that the recording of the prisoner’s medical and surgical history is carried out in a very brief manner.

[39] It is worth noting that the mental health doctor did not know what tests these machines could perform, nor was there anyone who could answer this question.

[40] There are three isolation rooms available in Tripoli prison that could be safe, but there is no good ventilation system, no toilet and it is not possible to monitor the patient.

[41] It should be noted that, on occasion, some prisoners may remain in visitation for longer than 10 minutes.

[42] Regarding Tripoli Prison, providing psychosocial support programs for all prisoners, not just Syrians, through RESTART.

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Cover image: Prisoners’ room in Tripoli Prison – NHRC-CPT

First edition 2024

Publisher: The National Human Rights Commission is an independent commission established by Law No. 62/2016.

Document No: NHRC-CPT/DolTZ/2023

Original Language: Arabic

 

NHRCLB
NHRCLBhttps://en.nhrclb.org
NHRC-CPT is an independent commission established by Law No. 62 based on the Paris Principles (‘Principles Relating to the Status of National Human Rights Institutions’). It also includes Lebanon’s national preventive mechanism (CPT) In accordance with the provisions of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) under Law No. 12 of September 5, 2008.
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