Human Rights Council—Lebanon—Death Penalty—July 2020

The Advocates for Human Rights, in collaboration with the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty, submitted a stakeholder report for the 37th Session of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review. This report addresses Lebanons compliance with human rights obligations regarding its use of the death penalty.

Lebanon has a de facto moratorium on executions, but the death penalty remains a legal form of punishment for severe crimes. Such crimes include premeditated murder, terrorism, importing toxic or nuclear waste, treason, espionage, or military crimes. While Lebanon has not carried out any executions since 2004, more than 47 people were on death row as of 2019, sixteen of which were foreign nationals.

Torture in detention remains widespread, especially during police interrogations and in trials administered by military tribunals. These interrogations often occur without the presence of a lawyer. Additionally, many reports highlight the inhuman conditions of detention centers. According to the Government of Lebanon, its prison system can accommodate approximately 2,500 people, but the current number of detainees is over three times that number. In addition to overcrowding, civil society organizations report that detention centers often lack adequate sanitation, ventilation, lighting, and access to basic medical care.

The authors of the report recommend that Lebanon ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, establish a de jure moratorium on the death penalty, investigate allegations of torture and abuse and hold perpetrators accountable, improve conditions in prisons and detention centers, and make legislative changes to guarantee and enforce due process rights.