Cyprus Mail
Cyprus

ECHR throws out Hezbollah member’s claim of ‘inhuman treatment’ in Cyprus

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled inadmissible an application lodged against Cyprus by a Swedish national convicted on terrorism-related charges in 2013 after admitting he was a member of Hezbollah.

In his application to the ECHR, Hossam Yaacoub complained that he had been subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment, claiming that some of the six statements, which had been preceded by interrogations, had been given under duress.

Those interrogations and the statements had been excessively long, strenuous and oppressive and in the course of them he had not been allowed to rest or sleep, he alleged.

The applicant also complained that during the interrogation that had preceded them, no record of the questions and answers had been kept, and he had not been advised of his rights, nor cautioned.

The Court concluded that the application was manifestly ill-founded and should be rejected, and unanimously declared the application inadmissible.

“In the light of all the material in its possession, and in so far as the remaining matters complained of are within its competence, the Court finds that they do not disclose any appearance of a violation of the rights and freedoms set out in the Convention or its Protocols.”

Yaacoub was arrested on July 7, 2012, in a hotel room, in Limassol, on intelligence that he was in possession of explosives and that he was planning terrorist attacks against Israeli and other foreign targets in Cyprus.

The police seized, among others, a handwritten note and a red notebook. The note contained a reference to a scheduled flight of an Israeli air carrier from Tel Aviv to Larnaca, numbers and the names of two hotels. The notebook contained a map with a point circled in ink.

On July 13, 2012, Yaacoub admitted during questioning that he was a member of Hezbollah and that he visited Cyprus four times.

He explained the meaning of the red notebook and his notes, as well as the connection between the words he had written and the numbers of the buses carrying passengers of the Israeli air carrier.

In March 2013, the criminal court found him guilty on five of the eight counts in the indictment, namely two counts of participating in a criminal organisation, two counts of participating in a criminal organisation which he ought reasonably to have known was connected to the commission of crimes, and one count of money laundering.

The court found that Hezbollah fell within the description of a “criminal organisation” as set out in the Criminal Code.

On March 28, the court imposed concurrent sentences of four years imprisonment for participation in a criminal organisation, which the applicant ought to have reasonably known was connected to the commission of crimes.

The applicant appealed against his conviction to the Supreme Court in April 2013, which dismissed his appeal. In November 2014 Yaacoub was released after having served two years and five months of his sentence.

 

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