New research by Amnesty International has revealed what it called “the disgraceful role played by French law enforcement equipment in the suppression of the peaceful protests that have taken place in Lebanon since October 2019, as well as in the suppression of the protests of August 2015.”
The organization said in a statement issued yesterday, Thursday, entitled “Lebanon … New Evidence Exposing the Illegal Use of French Law Enforcement Equipment to Smash Protests” The research documents the unnecessary or excessive use of force by Lebanese security forces against protesters with French-made weapons without submission. To be held accountable for the serious injuries they caused.
The French government did not respond to Amnesty International’s letter and emails requesting clarification if the sales were continuing.
“France has for years been providing the Lebanese security forces with law enforcement equipment that they used to commit or facilitate the commission of serious human rights violations, the most recent of which was during the October protest movement,” said Emeric Elwyn, an arms control advocacy officer at the French branch of Amnesty International. First 2019 ‘.
“We call on France – in line with its obligations under international, regional and local laws – to ensure that no further sales are made until the Lebanese authorities acknowledge past violations, and most of all, take measures to prevent their recurrence.”
“The Lebanese security forces operate in an atmosphere of impunity, and there has been no effective investigation into the illegal use,” he said “Weapons – including those made in France – against peaceful protesters, and no member of the security forces has been held accountable by the judicial authorities.”
The statement indicated that “on October 17, 2019, mass protests erupted across Lebanon due to the escalating prices, high unemployment rate, miserable public services, and rampant and systematic corruption, and continued until March 2020 and then stopped after it due to the multiplying effect of the spread of the Covid virus 19 – And the unprecedented economic crisis, which only resumed after the tragic explosion that occurred in the Beirut port in August 2020. “
“At least 1,000 protesters have been injured due to the unlawful use of force by the Lebanese security forces, who have often used French law enforcement weapons, including irritating chemicals such as tear gas, and kinetic projectiles such as rubber bullets,” the statement said. French-made armored vehicles, and related bombers, were also used.
The organization said, “The Crisis Evidence Laboratory and the Digital Verification Authority at Amnesty International verify the authenticity of 101 video clips of the protests that took place in Beirut between October 2019 and 2020, as well as in August 2015, which included multiple cases of unlawful use of force by forces Security, and the two sides conducted an analysis of it, and French equipment appeared regularly in the footage. “
Amnesty International was present on the scene in Beirut, monitoring and monitoring the use of force by the security forces in the protests. It interviewed more than 90 protesters as wounded victims or eyewitnesses, and reviewed medical reports.
The organization said, “The French equipment that appeared in the videos included launchers installed on” Land Cougar 12 “vehicles made by” Alstex “, and tear gas canisters” MB7 “(MP7) manufactured by” Noble Sport Security “and” CM4 ” CM4 and CM6 are made by Alastis, rubber bullets (Gomm-Cogne rounds of ammunition manufactured by SABL), grenade launchers. Shukka and Cougar manufactured by “Elstex”, and armored personnel carriers made by “Arkus Sherpa”.