Date: January 16th, 1998
From: Support of Lebanese in Detention.
To: Whom it may concern.
Subject: The health conditions of the Lebanese who are
detained in Syria.
We release this call to express our deep concern about the health of the Lebanese citizens who are illegally detained in Syrian prisons. We have confirmed information from former detainees that the prisoners are tortured, ill-treated and in a bad health. Hatem Abou-Zeid who was 'kidnapped' in 1996 from his work by intelligence men in civilian clothes, and later transferred to Syria. He was subjected to torture for a period of 4 months. By the end of 1997, Abou-Zeid was released from prison and he is now suffering from tuberculosis and post-torture trauma. We do not have the means to investigate whether he contracted tuberculosis while still in prison or whether somebody caught the disease from him. A medical team has to check up on him and assess the gravity of the situation.
The health of Hatem Abou-Zeid and many others who were released from Syrian prisons carry enough evidence to justify our concerns about the physical and mental conditions of those who remain imprisoned there.
This call strongly recommends the following:
The abduction of Lebanese citizens by the Syrian forces in Lebanon must be stopped and all detainees must be released to return home, but while waiting for this to happen, immediate steps and measures must be taken to ensure that all the Lebanese prisoners in Syria receive medical attention and regular visits by the International Committee of the Red Cross.