Know Your Rights: A Lebanese Guide
Published by Beirut.Com
Original Article here.
We thought we’d compile a running list of rights you have as a citizen or visitor facing troubles. Here are a few - this list will be continuously updated.
1. When you are apprehended:
- First and foremost, you have the right to know why you are being stopped. Being told “come down to the station and we’ll tell you," is unacceptable.
2. When being interrogated:
- You have a right to call a family member, lawyer, friend, or anyone once you reach the station and inform them of your arrest.
3. Regarding arbitrary urine testing:
- If your arrest is unrelated to drug-use, you have the right to refuse to submit to a urine test.
- If your arrest is drug-related and your urine test comes back positive, you have the right to ask to immediately be referred to the “Addiction Committee” which should stop all prosecutions against you and refer you to a center for drug counseling.
- This referral is sometimes refused, if you were not granted a referral to the Addiction Committee, and are instead sentenced to jail time or a fine, you can appeal the verdict in the Supreme Court.
4. Regarding police raids:
- Police raiding spaces must have a search warrant on hand from the Public Prosecutor.
- Police raiding spaces must have identification, especially if they are in civilian clothing.
- You have the right to ask to see the search warrant, know the reason behind the raid, and refuse them entry if they don’t have a valid warrant.
- If you are a female: it is completely illegal for a male police officer to search/touch you. You should request to wait for a female officer.
5. Regarding being summoned to a police station:
- If you get a phone call being summoned to the police station, you have a right to know why. In many cases, this is intentionally concealed. Consult with a lawyer before going in.
6. During your arrest/interrogation:
- You have a right to ask for a doctor, a translator, and a lawyer.
- If you can’t afford a lawyer and your charge is drug-related, call Skoun (01 202 714) and they'll help you out. If you’re being prosecuted, you have a right to legal counsel for free.
- You can only be held at the station for 48 hours before the police has to get permission from the Public Prosecutor to extend it for another 48 hours. If the permission is not granted, you should be released. If it is, you are to be released after the second 48 hours.
- You have a right to refuse your phone being searched!
- Unless permission has been granted by the Investigative Judge, you can refuse to have your phone unlocked and searched. Your phone search CANNOT be authorized by the Public Prosecutor, it must be the Investigative Judge.
- While you’re at the station, you have the right to not to be searched, or have your home searched without order from the General Prosecutor’s office.