Miqati: Syrian Refugees Humanitarian Situation Mustn't Prevent Enforcing Verdicts against Offenders

Posted on: August 04, 2012 at 02:39
Prime Minister Najib Miqati on Friday stressed that his government will continue its so-called self-dissociation policy towards the Syrian crisis, noting that “the humanitarian situation of the Syrian refugees must not become an obstacle to implementing the judicial verdicts issued against the culprits of crimes that have nothing to do with politics.”

“The repercussions of the unrest in Syria have become a topic for an intense campaign against the government and its policies, at a time we have put Lebanon’s higher interest above all else and committed to the policy of self-dissociation which represents a well-calculated choice that stems from our firm belief in Lebanon’s distinguished role among the region’s countries,” Miqati said during an iftar banquet at the Grand Serail.

“We have gained the support of the international community for our choice,” Miqati noted.

“We will carry on with these choices of refraining to interfere in the affairs of others and protecting our country from the repercussions of the external events,” the premier stressed.

He reassured that the government will not take “decisions that do not reflect national consensus” and that it will not tolerate “the violation of national sovereignty or the Lebanese border in the North and the Bekaa.”

Addressing the issue of the influx of Syrian refugees, Miqati said: “The increasing numbers of the refugees and our weak resources pushed us to seek the help of foreign countries and international and humanitarian organizations so that they contribute to providing health care for these” refugees.

Commenting on the latest controversial deportation by Lebanon of 14 Syrian nationals to their strife-torn country, Miqati said: “The humanitarian situation of our brothers the refugees, which is receiving our utmost attention and care, must not become an obstacle to implementing the judicial verdicts issued by the relevant courts against the culprits of crimes that have nothing to do with politics.”

Politics “must remain away from the work of the upright and fair Lebanese judiciary,” Miqati added.

“While the government believes that it is unacceptable to politicize every administrative, security or judicial measure taken in line with the applicable laws and regulations, it is also keen on respecting the principles of the International Bill of Human Rights, which Lebanon was among its first signatories, especially as to refraining from putting the safety of individuals at risk,” Miqati added.

Lebanon’s General Directorate of General Security deported 14 Syrians on Wednesday, drawing criticism from human rights activists.

A Human Rights Watch representative in Beirut said some of the deportees had expressed fears of persecution on their return.

''Fourteen men were deported to Syria today, despite the fact that four of them had asked not to be deported for fear of persecution if handed over to the Syrian authorities,'' the HRW representative told Agence France Presse.

One of them might be a political activist, the representative said, noting that the detainee had contacted HRW prior to being handed over to Syrian authorities at the border and expressed fear about what might happen to him.

But the General Security announced Friday that those deported were convicted of non-political crimes committed in Lebanon.

“The persons deported received judicial verdicts for crimes they committed on Lebanese territory, which the Syrian state has nothing to do with,” the directorate said, adding that “these verdicts were related to theft, forgery and rape attempts, not to anything else.”

Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat accused on Thursday General Security chief Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim of utterly following the Syrian regime’s orders by deporting the 14 Syrians.

The cabinet should “take all the disciplinary measures against the Maj. Gen. and to sack him if necessary to halt this ongoing charade,” Jumblat said.

The Druze leader lashed out at Ibrahim, saying that the fate of these 14 men will be “their murder and liquidation before proving them guilty.”

Former premier Fouad Saniora, head of al-Mustaqbal parliamentary bloc, on Friday called on EU and U.N. officials to condemn the Lebanese government “in the strongest terms” over the deportation, voicing concerns that the step might be repeated in the future and stressing that the government will be held accountable.
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