Biography | News | Freedom watch | U.N. Resolution 520 | Related Links |


Dr. Samir GeaGea

Freedom watch

Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

By HUSSEIN DAKROUB, Associated Press
BEIRUT, Lebanon (August 19, 2001 11:28 a.m. EDT) - In the second detention of a Christian journalist in three days, the army arrested an editor for a prominent Arab newspaper Saturday evening.
Pope John Paul II on Sunday criticized a crackdown on Lebanese Christian critics of Syria.
Military intelligence agents detained Habib Younis, a senior editor for the newspaper Al-Hayat, at his house in Jbeil, a town north of Beirut, the paper reported.
The London-based newspaper reported Sunday that Younis, who works for Al-Hayat's Beirut bureau, was told he was being detained "to be asked some questions." A senior military official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed Younis' arrest.
"Following arrests in the ranks of the Lebanese opposition, it is now the turn of the press to be muzzled," Al-Hayat commented.
since Aug. 7, the army has detained about 250 Christians opposed to Syria, the main power broker in Lebanon. Many detainees have been released, but the crackdown has been widely criticized by government and opposition politicians as a case of the military exceeding its powers.
John Paul criticized the arrests, appealing to Lebanese leaders "that the values of democracy and national sovereignty not be sacrificed for the political interests of the moment."
"A pluralistic and free Lebanon constitutes for the entire Middle East region a richness: let everyone help the Lebanese people preserve it and make it bear fruit," the pontiff told a group of faithful gathered at his summer retreat outside Rome.

The military accused those detained of seeking to destabilize the country, charges dismissed by the Christian opposition.
The authorities gave no reason for the arrest of Younis, but the Reporters' Syndicate issued a statement saying it had been informed by Brig. Raymond Azzar, the chief of military intelligence, that Younis was arrested because he planned to go to Cyprus on Sunday to meet an Israeli official.
Al-Hayat dismissed the alleged meeting in Cyprus as "untrue," saying Younis was scheduled to work a 12-hour shift in the Beirut office on Sunday.
The Reporters' Syndicate statement said it rejected the accusations against Younis and was demanding his release along with Antoine Bassil, the Christian journalist for the London-based television channel Middle East Broadcasting Corp., detained on Tuesday.
The Lebanese army said Saturday that Bassil was involved in contacts with Israeli officials abroad.
Lebanon is technically at war with Israel and prohibits any dealings with it.


Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
Awdeh Whips Army, Tells Parliament 'Go Home':

Archbishop Elias Awdeh cracked a whistling whip on President Lahoud's regime on Wednesday, denouncing the recent summary arrests that were staged by the army as "the ultimate evil."

"The army is to defend my country, not to beat my sons. It is for the border, not here to hit me," said the head of the Greek Orthodox Church in Beirut in a sermon marking Ascension of Mother of Christ.

A packed congregation, with the wife of imprisoned Lt. Gen. Nadim Lteif in the front row, listened spellbound to Awdeh's ringing oration. Families and relatives of scores of detainees had earlier complained to the archbishop about the sufferings of their loved ones.

"The one who has kidnapped our son is by no means superior to our son," Awdeh intoned. "Why is the call for a sovereign Lebanon punishable by prosecution?"

The prestigious cleric was referring to the rounded up activists of exiled Gen. Michel Aoun's Free Patriotic Movement and Samir Geagea's Lebanese Forces, who have been campaigning to free Lebanon from Syria's domination.

Gen. Lteif, the FPM's top coordinator who is among the detainee, has just been committed for trial before a Beirut military court on charge of affronting the Syrian army and disturbing Lebanon's relations with "sister Syria."

Archbishop Awdeh warned that a military regime in Lebanon would not be able to stand on its own two feet. "It won't work in this country."

Turning his oratory guns against the Lebanese parliament, he ridiculed Speaker Berri for contending that the legislature was its own master.

"There is evidently another master dictating on the legislators what to do and they obey. They cannot possibly be the masters of themselves. We know it. We are not fools," Awdeh lashed.

He ridiculed the way parliament was coerced on Monday into reversing judicial reforms that it had voted only 12 days earlier. "Those who change their heart so fast cannot be masters of their own selves. They are lackeys of another master," he said.

Awdeh said most of the 128 members of parliament should "quit, pack and go home because the legislator who cannot speak for the people cannot ethically be their representative."

Back to top     Next page