AJEM

Association Justice et Misericorde

Project fight against torture

The project is entitled “Prevention and rehabilitation of the victims of torture and other mistreatments, while being held in custody and during their provisional detention and their incarceration”. It is funded by the European Commission for a period of 3 years. It began in January 2009 and ended in January 2012.

Work setting: Lebanon

Background:

Torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatments on individuals that are arrested, held in custody and/or incarcerated in Lebanese prisons, are common practices that are even justified by the Lebanese society. Statistics, compiled by AJAM for a period of 2 years (2005-2007) with detainees at the Roumieh central prison for men (adults), have showed that 30% of arrested individuals have undergone mistreatments during their interrogation. 17 % kept visible signs of torture five days after their arrest and several detainees showed, during their reception, signs of mental distress requiring the immediate intervention of a psychiatrist.

Armed with fifteen years of experience in the area of intervention in prisons, AJAM has acquired the competencies that allow it to join efforts with the Internal Security Forces (ISF). Therefore, it has established a relationship of trust and acquired legitimacy within the Lebanese society and with public authorities. AJAM has consequently the knowledge and the know-how to address the gap in the silence that embraces torture.

Description:

This project’s goal is to bring about positive change to this situation, to take charge of tortured individuals and to end these inhuman practices. It targets adults (women and men) that are arrested and incarcerated in the two central prisons: the one in Baabda (women) and the one in Roumieh (men).

In order to solve this problem, AJAM promotes a global and integrated approach that aims at:

1) The rehabilitation of tortured individuals and their families: reinforce their capacity to face the detrimental consequences of this experience and regain control over their lives in addition to implementing means to improve them.

2) The training of the ISF so that the individuals pertaining to this mentioned entity acquire new knowledge of interrogation methods and reduce the use of means of torture with detainees from the moment they are held in custody and until their release.

3) The renovation and rearrangement of arresting facilities (custody) throughout Lebanon in order to discourage the practice of torture; with, in particular, the implementation of means of surveillance and control in interrogation rooms: recording equipment, video… This implies the renovation and arrangement of 203 arresting facilities.

4) The follow-up on the legal files of tortured individuals in order to be able to file charges; training of lawyers.

5) The development of mechanisms by the authorities, for the control of torture practices on one hand; and the drafting of reports required by the convention against torture ratified by the Lebanese government, on the other hand.

6) Raising the awareness of the Lebanese society concerning this issue: foster the awareness on its ability to face political and social violence and to develop a project of a society based on common Lebanese values and in line with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in general, and with the convention against torture in particular and other forms of suffering or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatments.

This project was completed with the participation of the ISF as privileged associated. Furthermore, AJAM joins its efforts to those of all NGOs that work in this area in order to reach a reduction of this violence phenomenon in the country.

Target groups:

The target groups of this project are new detainees entering the two central prisons for men and women, police officers in police stations and provisional arresting facilities, the Lebanese society through its formal and informal structures (Ministry of Interior, of Justice), the NGOs network, etc…

Future projects:

AJAM is a partner of an ambitious project funded by the European Union and executed in collaboration with the association Restart. This project’s goal will consist of the fight against torture in Lebanon and Jordan. It will begin by the end of 2013-beginning of 2014 and will last for a period of 3 years.

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