Unlawful Detention

Date: Mon, 14 Jul 97

From: ina <ina@ix.netcom.com

LEBANESE SAID BEING HELD UNLAWFULLY FOR YEARS IN DETENTION - London (dpa July 10, 1997) - Lebanese detainees abducted from Lebanon and secretly moved to Israel have been held for years, a human rights watchdog organization charges in a report due out Thursday.

The new report issued by Amnesty International details the cases of 21 Lebanese national "captured and held in Israel and South Lebanon as hostages" by Israel. The organization says the men are being held "to be used as a bargaining chip" with Islamic militia groups. "Lebanese detainees are being held by the Israeli authorities in a limbo where they have not information as to when - or if - they will be freed," the organization said. " It is unacceptable that a state should continue to hold human beings as pawns, outside any legal framework."

The report says nine men have been held for up to 10 years without charge or trial, and the other 12 for up to nine years after the expiry of prison sentences passed down by Israeli courts.

More than 130 others are held in Khiam detention centre - run by the South Lebanon Army (SLA) in the "security zone" Israel occupies in South Lebanon, the organization said.

"The Israeli government has written back to Amnesty International members saying that these people are 'terrorists' and they are holding them 'according to law'," Amnesty International said.