|Excellency Mr. Don Sinclair|
To: His Excellency Mr. Don Sinclair
Acting Director General for North Africa & Middle East Affairs
Regarding: Savage infringements on Human Rights in occupied Lebanon
On behalf of the LCCC, I would like to share with your Excellency the following very serious concerns:
Tony Orion (A Lebanese citizen) would have celebrated his 25th birthday with friends and family on August/16/2001, had he not distributed flyers of a recent speech by Lebanese PM in exile, General Michel Aoun earlier in the month. Mr.Orion, a Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) supporter and a school teacher, turned 25 while in Roumieh Prison, (near Beirut), where he is serving a six-weeks sentence. On Saturday, he leaked a letter from prison announcing an open-ended hunger strike to protest his arrest and that of several other FPM members. Tonys mother, Layla, told The Lebanese media on Sunday that her son had began his strike on Thursday. He also stopped drinking water on Saturday, she said. Now that he leaked out this letter, we were told that he would be sent to solitary confinement.
In a flyer that was distributed on August 5/2001, PM, General Aoun criticized the Beirut - Syrian installed regime for being beholden to Syria. He also lambasted the Lebanese - Syrian appointed President, Emile Lahoud, accusing him of threatening sovereignty by giving Syrian intelligence agencies free Rein. Aouns comments on political events in the country appeared in a weekly statement on the movements website at www.lebanon-world.org, and they were also published in local Lebanese newspapers. Free Patriotic Movement supporters often distribute Aouns statements as flyers to motorists and pedestrians, after they are published in the media. Mr. Tony was arrested on August 5/2001, while distributing one such flyer, which had already been published in at least two local newspapers. He was charged with harming ties with a sisterly country and publicizing information that was not permitted by the government. He was sentenced to six weeks in prison along with two other FPM supporters.
I, the undersigned, Tony Orion, a prisoner since Aug. 5, announce my open-ended hunger strike until the following demands are met, his letter said. Tony listed two demands in the letter. He called for the repeal of all sentences and arbitrary and illegal judicial proceedings against FPM activists and demanded the prosecution of those guilty of torture and inhumane treatment of protesters at the Defense Ministry and the Justice Palace during a sit-in earlier this month. Tony said his hunger strike was a message to legal and spiritual authorities and humanitarian organizations to prod them into taking exceptional stances against the exceptional brutality that targeted and is targeting the noble people and the purest among the pure. Tonys mother said that if she signed any form consenting to have him force-fed, he threatened to disown her.
According to his mother, Tony has been arrested for FPM-related activities five times previously, often spending more than one week in prison. I completely believe in what hes doing, and Im behind him all the way, even though its painful to see him in distress, she added. The FPM issued a statement on Sunday, holding the authorities responsible for Tonys health and
demanding that an independent team of non-prison doctors be allowed to examine Tony around the clock. Tony's mother called her son a hero for his decision, and said that he planned to keep with the strike until death. His morale is very
strong, she added.
Dear Mr. Sinclair,
the LCCC believes that Mr.Tony's life is in actual danger. Accordingly it strongly requests that the Canadian Ministry for Foreign Affairs takes the following urgent steps to support Mr. Tony Orion's human rights genuine case.
1- Put pressure on the Beirut authorities to assign an independent committee of physicians in a bid to check on Tony's health around the clock and ensure his over all physical and psychological safety,
2- Pressure the Beirut regime to release immediately Mr. Tony who is a prisoner of conscience,
3- Boycott the Francophone Summit conference to be held in Beirut (October 2001) in case the Beirut Regime maintains its brutal infringes on the Christian Community's freedom of speech and does not put an immediate end to the savage
atrocities inflicted on opposition figures and members.
4- Support openly the Lebanese opposition in its endeavor for implementation of the UN Resolution 520 and respect for human rights of the Lebanese people.
5- Put on hold all kinds of financial Canadian aids to both regimes in Syria and Lebanon.
6- Strong Canadian condemnation for the inhuman and illegal actions the Beirut regime is forcing on the Lebanese Christian community and its political patriotic activist and leaders.
Our beloved Canadian government was and is still one of the most outspoken advocates for human rights in the world. The Lebanese people are struggling peacefully for freedom, independence and respect of their human rights. Let us
support their struggle.
THE LEBANESE CANADIAN COORDINATING COUNCIL (LCCC)