Current treatment of members and supporters of the Lebanese Forces (LF) [LBN39595.E]

According to Amnesty International's Annual Report 2002, members of the Lebanese Forces (LF) were among more than 200 people arrested in August 2001 for participation in unauthorized political activities (Dec. 2001). Among those arrested, some were released without charges, some were released on bail, some were sentenced to prison terms under a month, and some, including Elie Kayruz and Salman Samaha, "suspected LF members," were referred to the Military Court (ibid.). According to an Amnesty International news release, Tawfiq al-Hindi, a leading member of the banned LF, and Antoine Bassil, Elie Kerouz, Salman Samaha and Habib Younes were charged with "'collaboration' with Israel" (ibid.). The news release did not state which outlawed party Bassil, Kerouz, Samaha and Younes were suspected of belonging to. Most were allegedly tortured and held incommunicado during their pre-trial detention (13 Mar. 2002). Arabic News reported that Taqfiq al-Hindi and Antoine Bassel were sentenced to three and four years imprisonment respectively (21 Mar. 2002).

On 15 May 2002, approximately 1,000 university students protested the disappearance of Ramzi Irani, a former official of the banned Christian LF ( 15 May 2002). Irani was found dead in the trunk of his car on 20 May 2002 (ibid. 2002b). No reports on suspects could be found, but reported that "Lebanese Christian groups based in the United States blamed Syrian forces in Lebanon for the disappearance." (ibid.). On the same day, an article discussed the blow to "Lebanon's precarious stability," referring to Irani's murder and to a 24 January 2002 car bomb that killed Elie Hobeika and three of his body guards in a Christian neighbourhood of Beirut ( 20 May 2002a). Hobeika was the leader of the Lebanese Forces militia and a former minister who switched his allegiance towards Syria at the end of the civil war (ibid.).

A former member of the LF, Mike Nassar, was shot and killed in Sao Paulo, Brazil on 7 March 2002 (Middle East Intelligence Bulletin March/April 2002).

No information on suspects or arrests in connection with these deaths could be found among sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

Further information on these and other incidents involving LF members and supporters since 1998 is available in the UK's Immigration and Nationality Directorate's Lebanon: Country Assessment (April 2002).

In July 2002, members and supporters of the LF held a rally in Beirut announcing a new political program and demanding the release of their jailed leader, Samir Geagea (Lebanese Forces 8 July 2002). The LF stated that it intended to resume its activities as a political party, regardless of government approval (ibid.).

According to the Director of Political Science and Public Administration at American University of Beirut, LF members and supporters who are politically active have been targeted by Lebanese authorities since the 2000 Israeli withdrawal in an effort "to appease Syria" (16 July 2002). The Director further stated that, while it was unknown who was responsible for the recent murders of prominent LF members, the LF remains outlawed and is viewed as collaborative with Israel (ibid.).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


American University of Beirut. 16 July 2002. Telephone interview with the Director of the Department of Political Science and Public Administration.

Amnesty International (AI). December 2001. Annual Report 2002. "Lebanon."!Open [Accessed 16 July 2002]

_____. 13 March 2002. "News Release: Amnesty International Expresses Concerns at Violations in Pre-trial Detention of Tawfiq al-Hindi and Co-Defendants." AI Index: MDE 18/004/2002 [Accessed 16 July 2002]

Arabic News. 21 March 2002. "Lebanese Sentenced Over Dealing with Israel." [Accessed 16 July 2002]

Lebanese Forces (LF). 8 July 2002. "LF Outlines Policy Guidelines in First Downtown Rally." [Accessed 16 July 2002] 20 May 2002a. Pascal Mallet. "Fresh Killings Rock Lebanon, Stir Memories of Civil War." [Accessed 16 July 2002]

_____. 20 May 2002b. "Missing Former Christian Militant Found Dead in Beirut." [Accessed 16 July 2002]

_____. 17 May 2002. "Lebanese Students Protest Disappearance of Christian Militant." [Accessed 16 July 2002]

Middle East Intelligence Bulletin. March/April 2002. "Former LF Official Assassinated." [Accessed 16 July 2002]

United Kingdom. Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND), Home Office. April 2002. Lebanon: Country Assessment. [Accessed 15 July 2002]

Additional Sources Consulted

IRB Databases

The Lebanon Report

Le Liban aujourd'hui

The Middle East

Middle East International

Middle East Report

Mideast Mirror

Monde arabe Maghreb-Machrek


World News Connection (WNC)

Internet sites, including:


Amnesty International

Daily Star

Human Rights Watch

Middle East Intelligence Bulletin

L'Orient le Jour

Reporters sans frontières (RSF)

La Revue du Liban

The Washington Post