Home > Press Articles > Judiciary seeks release of Iraqi refugee detained arbitrarily

Judiciary seeks release of Iraqi refugee detained arbitrarily

The Daily Star Newspaper, dated 16/2/2009.

BEIRUT: The Lebanese judiciary requested on Friday the immediate release of an Iraqi refugee held in prison arbitrarily for more than six months, a statement released by the non-governmental organization Frontiers Ruwad Association (FRA) said on Tuesday. In a landmark ruling being hailed by civil society groups, the Zahle Court for Urgent Matters ruled the continuing incarceration of the refugee woman constituted a violation of her rights. It cited Article 14 of the Universal Declaration for Human Rights, which states that “Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.”
The FRA statement said the Iraqi refugee woman, known only as Yusra, escaped from Iraq with her brother Raad in May 2009 after her husband was killed by an Iraqi militia. Two days after arriving in Lebanon, she was arrested at a military checkpoint in Zahle for having illegally entered Lebanon. Yusra was then sentenced to one month in Zahle prison, a LL100,000 fine and deportation. Her brother was detained in Roumieh prison. Although Yusra is considered a refugee by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, she and her brother are still being arbitrarily held in the General Security prison in Beirut.
The court reportedly based its decision to release Yusra on an international agreement signed by Lebanon stipulating that foreigners cannot be deported if they face danger in their home country. It also refused to further detain her because she had already finished her sentence.
The statement said FRA has contacted Interior Minister Ziyad Baroud, State Prosecutor Said Mirza and several UN agencies to try to resolve the case. – The Daily Star
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