Lebanon must investigate torture claims by actor, HRW says

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Lebanon must investigate torture claims by actor, HRW says
Lebanon must investigate torture claims by actor, HRW says

BEIRUT (AP) – The New York-based Human Rights Watch is calling on Lebanese authorities to investigate allegations of torture made by a well-known actor who was detained and later exonerated of charges of spying for Israel.

The watchdog said Monday the case of Ziad Itani is a test for whether the law criminalizing torture, passed in November, will end impunity for security officials.

Bassam Khawaja, a HRW researcher, said Itani’s case “was extremely disturbing.” Itani alleges he was framed, held incommunicado for days during which he was tortured and threatened with violence against his family. The allegations against Itani were then leaked to the media to further pressure him, Khawaja said.

Itani was exonerated in March, nearly four months after he was detained.

Lebanon’s public prosecutor said he has received no formal complaints.

FILE – In this March 13, 2018 file photo, Ziad Itani, a Lebanese stage actor, who was indicted on charges of collaborating with Israel and drug possession, shouts as he speaks with journalists after he was released by Lebanese authorities, at his house, in Beirut, Lebanon. The New York-based Human Rights Watch called on Lebanese authorities to investigate allegations of torture made by Itani. The watchdog said Monday, July 16, 2018, that the case of Itani is a test for whether the law criminalizing torture, passed in November, will end impunity for security officials. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla, File)
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