Lebanese man files lawsuit against his Syrian jailers


A Lebanese man has filed an unprecedented lawsuit against five Syrians, including four officers, that he said kidnapped, tortured and jailed him in Syria, his lawyer Suleiman Labbous said Thursday.

Elias Tanios was kidnapped from Lebanon by Syrian soldiers in 1992 and taken to Syria where he was held in jail until his release in 2000, his lawyer said.

The Syrian defendants named in the lawsuit include Jameh Jameh, a Syrian officer who was in charge of an infamous detention and torture centre in Beirut in the 1990s, the lawyer said.

Also named was Barakat al-Ash, who ran the Saydnaya prison, one of Syria’s largest jails, as well as officers Dib Zeitouni and Kamal Youssef, and Ghassan Alloush who allegedly denounced Tanios to the Syrian authorities.

Tanios is a former member of the Lebanese security services

The suit is the first of its kind to be filed against Syrian authorities by a Lebanese once held in Syria — which ruled Lebanon politically and military for nearly three decades until April 2005.

Syria rounded up hundreds of Lebanese during its domination of Lebanon, holding them in detention either in Lebanese or in Syrian jails.

Hundreds of Lebanese who went missing during that time are still believed to be held in Syrian prisons.

Families of the missing have been pressing the Syrian authorities for years to free them or to report on their fates.