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A 'mute' funeral for 9th victim of Lebanese army's torture

DETAINEES | 2017-07-15 19:43:42
A 'mute' funeral for 9th victim of Lebanese army's torture

(Zaman Al Wasl)- Tawfiq Mohammed al-Ghawi’s, 23, body arrived at the al-Rahma hospital in the Lebanese town of Arsal on Thursday evening, two weeks after his arrest. Tawfiq, from the town of al-Qarah in western al-Qalamoun, worked as a tank driver transporting water and selling it among the different camps in Arsal. The Lebanese army arrested al-Ghawi and his brother Abdo Mohammed al-Ghawi during their raid on al-Qarah camp on Friday, June 30, 2017.

Sources close to the victim’s sister Nisreen al-Ghawi, who declined to be named, informed Zaman al-Wasl that Nisreen was summoned by a Lebanese military figure to Zahle public hospital on July 07, 2017. She was told to come on the basis her brother was being treated for a bad medical condition and that he would be released. 

The Lebanese Army members forced Nisreen to sign a document stating that she received her brother alive before allowing her to see him through the glass panel in his room in the intensive care unit, according to Nisreen. Nisreen refused to receive her brother because he appeared very weak and he looked almost dead as she watched him through the glass. 

Speaking to Zaman al-Wasl, the source explained that Nisreen said the doctor treating him, a Lebanese citizen, appeared to be affected and sympathetic to her brother’s condition. He told her that Tawfiq suffered from complete kidney failure due to severe bleeding caused by Tawfiq being beaten with a solid instrument on his head and stomach in his cell. The doctor explained that Tawfiq was in a coma when the Army brought him to the hospital.

The doctor asked Nisreen to get Tawfiq examined by a neurosurgeon as soon as possible. He said that Tawfiq needed be transferred immediately to a hospital specializing in the type of micro-nerve surgery as it was necessary for doctors to perform urgent surgical procedures on his head. Without the surgeries, Tawfiq would die the doctor warned.

Time was not on Nisreen’s side, and Tawfiq’s body did not survive the brutality of the torture and beatings he was exposed to. Tawfiq was buried on Friday afternoon with great secrecy after his family received threats that Abdou al-Ghawi, the other detained brother, would be killed if Tawfiq’s body was photographed and images published online. 

Witnesses among the women from inside al-Qarah camp confirmed to Zaman al-Wasl that they saw Tawfiq al-Ghawi at the time of his arrest by the Lebanese army and he was healthy and strong.

Speaking to Zaman al-Wasl, two witnesses said that Tawfiq did not suffer from any symptoms of kidney diseases or any other chronic diseases.
Tawfiq Mohammed al-Ghawi is the fifth victim who has died under torture while detained by the Lebanese Army forces. In addition to al-Ghawi, four other people from the town of al-Qarah have also died under torture while detained by the Lebanese Army and they are, Mustafa Abdel Karim Abasah, Khalid Hussein al-Mulais, Khaldun Halawa, Othman Merai al-Mulais.

Zaman al-Wasl published the previous testimonies as part of its commitment to stand in solidarity with the oppressed and to insist on exposing human rights crimes and violations practiced by regimes, including the Lebanese regime against Syrian refugees.

Zaman al-Wasl reserves the right not to publish the exclusive video it obtained showing Tawfiq’s body with visible signs of torture. 

Zaman al-Wasl holds the Lebanese authorities responsible for any harm that may come to Abdou al-Ghawi, Tawfiq’s brother who is still detained, following the publication of this report. The Lebanese forces still detain Abdou al-Ghawi and his fate remains unknown.
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