The Council of Lebanese American Organizations
February 11, 2003                                                      
PR 030211                 

Abduction of citizens by the Syrian-installed Lebanese regime

The Council of Lebanese American Organizations (CLAO) is deeply concerned about the continuous human right violations and abduction of citizens executed daily by the Syrian-installed Lebanese regime. The latest unwarrantable arrest of Dr. Adonis Akra is just another example of many such violations.

On Tuesday February 11, 2003, Security Forces of the Lebanese regime arrested Dr. Akra at his home, while family members watched in total dismay and humiliation. The authorities ransacked Dr. Akra's residence with complete disregard to his wife and children pleading for the minimum of civilized behavior and human dignity. Dr. Akra's alleged crime stems from him preparing to publish a book detailing the abuses and barbaric treatment that he incurred during the mass arrests of members of the opposition in August. Dr. Akra is a well-established member of the faculty at the Lebanese University.

As an American organization, CLAO appeals to the U.S. Administration to publicly denounce the human right violations carried out by the Syrian-installed Lebanese regime against the citizens of Lebanon. Prior to the Syrian occupation, Lebanon's vibrant democracy stood out in a region dominated by oppressive regimes, symbol of pride for the Lebanese People and object of envy for their neighbors. Today, Lebanese citizens are engaged in a fight for Liberty, Democracy and Human Rights much in the same way Iranian citizens are as pointed by President Bush's State of Union Address: ".Iranians risking intimidation and death as they speak out for Liberty and Human Rights and Democracy." The Lebanese "like all people have the right to choose their own government, and determine their own destiny."