Geagea Suffers Devastating Torture in Lightless, Airless Dungeon"
Samir Geagea's attorneys have complained to Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir that he is "subjected to ruthless, systematic, deliberate and devastating psychological torture in a narrow, airless and lightless underground dungeon" at the defense ministry in Yarze.
The complaint of the only civil warlord jailed in Lebanon, was carried to the head of Lebanon's Maronite Catholic church by a delegation of lawyers representing Geagea's 150 defense attorneys. The text was published Friday by An Nahar.
"Jailers handcuff him and blindfold him whenever he is taken out of his cell and in seven days a week he is allowed to talk to his relatives, lawyers and priests for no more than 60 minutes," the letter said. "He is often shaken out of sleep to be randomly frisked in a degrading manner."
The lawyers appealed to cardinal Sfeir to intervene on Geagea's behalf to stop his merciless ordeal, "which stands as a gross violation of human rights, international conventions and the Lebanese constitution."
The letter complained that Geagea is isolated from the world. "He is not allowed to read newspapers or magazine and his requests to a television set have all been turned down. He is allowed no incoming or outgoing mail."
The patriarch had frequently complained in public about Geagea's incarceration while all other Muslim and pro-Syrian militia commanders of the 1975-1990 civil war were left unmolested and many of them were even given cabinet posts. But the patriarchal pleas had fallen on deaf ears.
Beirut courts had passed four death sentences against Geagea since his arrest in 1994, when his Lebanese Forces militia that changed into political party after the civil war was outlawed. All the death verdicts were commuted to life imprisonment.
He has been convicted on four assassination counts although Geagea had denied the charges, stubbornly contending that his trial was politically motivated because he refused to join post-war governments like his Muslim adversaries.
Pope warns against further arrests of Christians in Lebanon
(AFP) - Pope John Paul II warned Lebanon on Sunday not to pursue its crackdown on Christians, after the recent arrests of scores of anti-Syrian Christian militiamen. "In addition to the dramatic situation in the Holy Land, there are serious political tensions in Lebanon after a wave of arrests that is an obstacle to national dialogue," the head of the Roman Catholic Church said after noon prayers at his summer residence outside Rome. Christian politicians and religious leaders have been among the most critical of Syria's political dominance over its smaller
neighbor. Syria has stationed thousands of troops in Lebanon since the country plunged into civil war in the 1970s. Lebanon pro-Syrian military and security services have stepped up a crackdown on anti-Syrian Christian groups in recent weeks. The army rounded up some 250 people at the beginning of the month. John Paul appealed to the Lebanese authorities to act responsibly, adding: "This dear nation has already suffered a lot because of its internal divisions." "The values of democracy and national sovereignty must not be
sacrified to temporary political interests," the pontiff said. "A pluralistic and free Lebanon is an asset for the entire Middle East region. May everybody help the Lebanese preserve it and make it bear fruit."