Geagea wants release to effect reconciliation April 22, 2004

Discours et Textes, Samir Geagea

The leader of the disbanded Lebanese Forces Party, Samir Geagea, hopes “he will be released so that national reconciliation across the country be established,” saying that after 15 years of imprisonment, it was high time he was released.

Geagea’s comments were conveyed to the press by the Beirut Bar Association President Salim Osta Wednesday. In a news conference, Osta, who visited Geagea in the Yarze prison at the Defense Ministry for a private one-hour meeting, said that “Geagea represented the legitimacy of his mission in the country and this legitimacy stemmed from the faith of believers in Lebanon and its survival.”

Osta reiterated Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Nasrallah Butros Sfeir’s statements that “reconciliation can only be achieved with the release of Samir Geagea and all political prisoners.”

Osta confirmed that Geagea was in a good health and had a series of demands, particularly transfer to another cell with more air and light. Geagea wishes to be allowed to meet his lawyers and family in private three times a week and not twice and to follow up on local and international news. He also wants the International Committee of the Red Cross to visit him by virtue of a decree issued by the Cabinet allowing the committee to visit prisoners and that two religious and philosophy experts meet him on a weekly basis for a religious and philosophical debate.

Geagea pledged not to tackle political issues nor publish any political report during his stay in prison if his demands are met, Osta said, adding that the prisoner was not allowed access to former premier Salim Hoss’ recent book.

Osta said that Geagea’s demands were justified. He indicated that Geagea did not discuss political issues with him since the bar association does not interfere in politics. Osta stressed the importance of preserving public freedoms, human rights and democracy which are national principles people are attached to.

Osta said that Geagea was allowed to an hour of physical exercise every day, but is transferred from one place to another blindfolded.

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