HRW: Torment claims by actor Ziad Itani must be investigated by Lebanon

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  • Watchdog said case of Ziad Itani is test for whether the law criminalizing torture will end impunity for security officials
  • Lebanon’s public prosecutor said he has received no formal complaints

BEIRUT: 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.

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