Nadine Elali

April 26, 2013

Mr. Antoine Chakhtoura, you should be punished.




Picture of Chakhtoura disseminated on Facebook by Lebanese activists.

Saturday night, four civilians were arrested in Dekwaneh at club Ghost and were later harassed at the municipality headquarters. The head of the municipality, Antoine Chakhtoura, ordered his deputies to detain three gay men and a transgender person because he personally believed they were scandalous. The four were taken into a room where they were abused both verbally and sexually, and forced to undress in front of Chakhtoura's policemen, under his order, so they could determine their gender.

During my interview with the state official, who believe it or not, is also a lawyer, he asked what I personally thought of his actions. My reply was that during reporting I remain objective and refrained from giving my personal opinion. Here in this blog however, I will share what I personally think of you Mr. Chakhtoura, and back it up with all the relevant arguments from experts.

Mr. Chakhtoura I believe you’re a monster, and that you and your deputies should be punished for your actions, which are anything but humane, and it is the Lebanese state’s responsibility to see to that matter.  

Lawyer and human rights activist Nizar Saghieh met with the victims yesterday and upon their testimonies has gathered that your deputies have: harassed the victims both verbally and physically; forced them to strip naked; shamed them; violently beat them; had them enact intimate acts which included kissing; discriminated against them because they were Syrian nationals; and not to say the least, all the derogatory terms they used.

It seems your boys Mr. Chakhtoura had a little fun there during what you described was a formal “investigation.”

According to Saghieh, there was no real investigation and no police report to follow and that Chakhtoura and his deputies actually practiced “arbitrary detention.”

“They abused their power to violate people’s rights and privacy and abuse them sexually. Chakhtoura admitted to that, There should be punishment against both him and his officers, and there should be civil compensation for the victims,” stressed Saghieh.

In a talk with George Ghali who is the project officer at ALEF - act for human rights organization, he highlighted that whether the raid or the arrest are legal or not, there were major human rights violations and torture during detention that should not pass unattended.

“The case is arbitrary detention. His acts are a violation to Lebanon’s obligations to the international community especially the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the International Covenant on the Civil and Political Rights,” said Ghali

In a press release issued today, the organization stated that they call on the Lebanese authorities to investigate the claims of violations.

“We call on the judicial authorities and the Ministry of Interior to investigate the allegations and punish the perpetrators by law and by administrative measures, with the aim of restoring the rule of law, respect in Human Dignity and personal freedoms and limiting impunity,” closed Ghali.  

There will be a rally held Tuesday evening by Lebanese activists calling for the above.

During my conversation with the transgender reveler, she mentioned that ahead of her release, the policemen forced her to sip 4 cups of Turkish coffee.

“So that you don’t tell everyone that you paid us a visit, and we didn’t serve you coffee,” they mocked her.

Well, Mr. Chakhtoura, I think it’s time that both you and your men pay the police a visit and have that cup of coffee there.

Follow the author on Twitter @Nadine_Elali