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Issue of detainees in Syria 'a tragedy'

A human rights activist said Monday that the issue of Lebanese who were victims of arbitrary abduction and detention by Syrian forces was a harsh humanitarian outcome of the civil war.
"This problem forms a tragedy, and touches all the sectors of our society," said Ghazi Aad, director of S.O.L.I.D.E (Support of Lebanese in Detention and Exile). "Many Lebanese families are still waiting for their beloved ones." Aad's comments came during a press conference held at the Saint Joseph University (USJ), in association with student representatives from the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), the Phalange Base, Lebanese Forces (LF) and the National Liberal Party (NLP). During the press conference, Aad announced that a petition demanding a solution for the detainees' issue had gathered about 10 thousand signatures and would be presented to Cardinal Nasrallah Butros Sfeir on Tuesday and to the UN's Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia on Wednesday. "The students' petition demands a proper clarification about the fate of Lebanese detainees in Syrian prisons," he said. "Our movement is the first of many to come, aiming at reaching the demands listed in our national petition, which are the immediate release of all the detainees and retrieving the bodies of those who passed away," Aad said. "We also want to add another demand," he said. "Responsible officials should be convicted for these violations, and Lebanese victims should be compensated." The Syrian and Lebanese governments continue to deny the existence of Lebanese detainees in Syrian prisons, although many testimonies, particularly from parents and families who visited them in prison, confirm their presence, as do interviews with members of Parliament and Syrian activists. Aad explained that the petition held the signature of students because they represent the whole of Lebanese society. " This way, no one can say any of the signatures aren't true.