Jamaa Islamiya Urges End to 'Arbitrary Arrests' in Sidon, Detention of Troops 'Who Tortured Civilians'إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
The Jamaa Islamiya on Friday called for an end to “arbitrary arrests” in the southern city of Sidon and its suburbs, in the wake of the deadly battle that ended after the army stormed Sheikh Ahmed al-Asir's headquarters in Abra.
“Sidon was violated ... but we know that you have never been outlaws,” Jamaa Islamiya official Bassam Hammoud said at a press conference, addressing Sidon's residents.
“We know that efforts are being exerted to demonize the political forces in the city one after another ahead of targeting them and we know that some media outlets are provoking you everyday and we know that some parties don't want Sidon's welfare,” he added.
Commenting on the demos Sidon witnessed earlier on Friday, Hammoud said: “Your sit-in in Abra was a courageous stance and your sit-in outside al-Zaatari Mosque was also courageous, but the resolve of men and the sentiments of women must not go in the wrong direction, as the army is not your enemy, but rather a national institution that commits wrongful and rightful deeds, that's why the army must be immunized against any flaw.”
“We are demanding the correction of an abnormal situation and we are gathering to pacify a volcano that might explode anytime in the face of everyone. In order not to waste the rightful demands voiced by Sidon today, we will announce a number of demands,” he said.
Hammoud stressed that “all arbitrary arrests must stop, especially those conducted over religious symbols,” demanding a speedy handing over of the bodies of slain supporters of al-Asir to the families.
“The names of the wounded and detainees must be announced as well as the places of detention. The officers and soldiers responsible for the torture of civilians must be arrested and referred to the relevant judicial authorities and a probe must be launched into the death of Nader al-Bayoumy,” he added.
“A judge must be in charge of the investigations, not the army intelligence directorate, and the work of human rights organizations must not be obstructed,” the Jamaa official said, calling on the Higher Relief Commission to pay compensations to those affected by the clashes.
He underlined that “acts of thuggery by the (Hizbullah-affiliated) Resistance Brigades must come to an end and all gunmen who belong to political parties must be arrested for firing on Sidon,” adding that “Hizbullah's apartments, which were the reason behind the sedition, must be closed.”
“These are the demands of dozens of families who have been asking about the fate of their sons and searching for them in hospitals and refrigerators and these demands are aimed at preventing strife,” Hammoud noted.
The fighting in Abra outside Sidon was among the worst in Lebanon since the outbreak of conflict in neighboring Syria 27 months ago deepened sectarian tensions.
It highlighted widespread Sunni resentment against the army, accused of siding with Hizbullah and being selective in its crackdown on armed groups.
On Thursday, the army handed over to the military police soldiers suspected of humiliating and beating a man suspected of ties to al-Asir.
A military source told Agence France Presse: "We do not accept this kind of behavior."