Freedom of peaceful assembly

06/16/2020

Lebanon is a democratic country and the right to advocate and protest lies within the core principles of democracy. As Lebanon has been witnessing major protests on the streets, it is important for every Lebanese protestor to know his/her rights and understand the freedom that they hold, as long as they are protesting in good faith.

Lebanon has seen some peaceful protests and some destructive ones. According to human rights seeds for Legal Initiatives, arresting and abducting demonstrators, not disclosing their place of detention, beating, intimidating and torturing them are all practices that violate local and international law. To that end, demonstrators should be aware of certain rights, in the event of ever being arrested for protesting.

According to Article 47 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Article 34 of the Juvenile Protection Law, if a demonstrator has been arrested, he/she has the right to:

  • Call for a lawyer
  • Request a forensic examination
  • He/she may choose to remain silent during the interrogation
  • Read the investigation report before signing it and may also refuse to sign it if he/she believes that the answers documented are not accurate.
  • Request to leave immediately in the event where the public prosecutor has not been contacted but the records have stated otherwise.

Additionally, it is important for every demonstrator to know that security forces are not entitled to:

  • Search the detainee’s phones without judicial permission, or force them to disclose their password to view any private information;
  • Beat the detainee, raise the weapon against him/her, treat him/her with intensity, and insult them;
  • Conduct a urine test without any evidence of suspected drug use;
  • Investigation of minors in the presence of juvenile delegates and after informing the family in support of Article 34 of the Juvenile Protection Law;
  • Security forces must disclose the detention, its location, and allow detainees to communicate with their families and lawyers.

The right to demonstrate peacefully is every citizen’s right. As long as the demonstration is taking place peacefully, officials shall treat the people in an equal manner. Protesting is the freedom of peaceful assembly, to collectively express and defend shared ideas. Stay educated and informed about your legal and civil rights, which shall always remain every generation’s biggest asset.

 

By: Lana Fadel

Picture source: https://www.freepik.com/premium-photo/crowd-protesters-people-people-raised-fist-air-fighting-their-rights-with-sunlight-effect-concept-revolution-protest_8307499.htm#page=1&query=protestors&position=0#&position=0

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