Khiam Prison

Source: Wikipedia

The Khiam Detention Center, located near Khiam, Lebanon, was a French barrack complex originally buily in the 1930s. It became a base for the Lebanese army before falling under the control of the South Lebanon Army (SLA) and in 1985 was modified into a prison camp. It remained in use for alleged torture of Lebanese civilians until Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon in May 2000, and the subsequent collapse of the SLA. After the withdrawal, the prison camp was preserved in the condition it was abandoned, and made into a museum by Hezbollah.


The Israeli Air Force destroyed the prison during the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict.

Amnesty Internationa] and Human Rights Watch reported the use of torture and other serious human rights abuses in the facility.

Israel has denied any involvement in Khiam, claiming to have delegated operation of the centre to the South Lebanon Army (SLA) as early as 1988.

Robert Fisk, the British journalist who has spent 25 years reporting from Lebanon, said about this prison:

“The sadists of Khiam used to electrocute the penises of their prisoners and throw water over their bodies before plunging electrodes into their chests and kept them in pitch-black, solitary confinement for months. For many years, the Israelis even banned the Red Cross from visiting their foul prison. All the torturers fled across the border into Israel when the Israeli army retreated under fire from Lebanon almost seven years ago.”

 

The Israeli Air Force destroyed the prison during the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict.

Amnesty Internationa] and Human Rights Watch reported the use of torture and other serious human rights abuses in the facility.

Israel has denied any involvement in Khiam, claiming to have delegated operation of the centre to the South Lebanon Army (SLA) as early as 1988.

Robert Fisk, the British journalist who has spent 25 years reporting from Lebanon, said about this prison:

“The sadists of Khiam used to electrocute the penises of their prisoners and throw water over their bodies before plunging electrodes into their chests and kept them in pitch-black, solitary confinement for months. For many years, the Israelis even banned the Red Cross from visiting their foul prison. All the torturers fled across the border into Israel when the Israeli army retreated under fire from Lebanon almost seven years ago.”

BBC News

By Hilary Andersson in al-Khiam

Saturday, 27 May, 2000

Soon after the Israeli withdrawal from South Lebanon, the guards of the notorious Khiam prison fled, leaving the prisoners free. More than 100 men women and children had been held in appalling conditions.

The jail is now empty and a flag of the Lebanese Hezbollah is posted at the gates, but the prisoners’ testimonies and the cells bear witness to what went on inside.

Prisoners, some jailed for over ten years without trial, were crammed into tiny, filthy spaces where they ate and slept.

They were allowed out, usually once a week for 15 to 30 minutes, to visit a walled area with no roof called “the sun room.”

Punishment cells

They said they were routinely tortured for the first three months of their stay for three hours a day, three times a day.

The torture, which took place in a row of interrogation rooms, would involve beatings, being prodded with live electrical cable in sensitive parts of the body, and being hung from painful positions.

Near a post in a courtyard from where the prisoners said they would be hung by their arms for hours at a time, hoods were lying on the ground.

These were put on the prisoners’ heads during the torture, a stretcher laid nearby presumably in case of collapse.

The prison was also equipped with a row of punishment cells so small that it was only possible to sit in them but not lie down.

Visits by soldiers

Prisoners would be left in these for up to ten days at a time. Throughout the jail was the stench of filth.

Al-Khiam was run by the SLA and Israel has always denied any involvement. But the prisoners said Israeli soldiers would regularly visit the jail. Some said they heard Hebrew being spoken in the interrogation cells whilst their heads were covered with the hoods.