Beirut Protests Detention of Lebanese in Uganda by ISO

Lebanon has protested the arrest of her nationals in Uganda by the Internal Security Organization (ISO), Chimp Corps report.

Ali Hussein Yassin and Hussein Mahmoud Yassin were picked from Entebbe International Airport on July 7, 2019 by ISO operatives.

Ali was traveling to Lebanon via Ethiopia and Tanzania when he was intercepted at Entebbe Airport.

Ali, who runs LDC Construction, a private company dealing in concrete materials, was told that he would not proceed to Lebanon using his passport.

Ali, who is said to have dual citizenship, asked his colleague Mahmoud to pick his (Ali) Lebanese passport from Kampala.

Mahmoud rushed to the airport as requested by Ali. However, even after submitting the Lebanese passport, officers at the airport told Ali he could not travel.

The duo communicated to their relatives that they were returning to Kampala as Ali’s planned travel had been blocked.

That was the last time the Lebanese’ families heard from then.

In a diplomatic note, the Honorary Counsel of Lebanon now says arrested Lebanese are being held incommunicado and denied legal representation.

“The individuals were kidnapped from Entebbe Airport on July, 7,2019 at 7:30pm,” said Yasser Ahmed, Lebanon’s Honorary Counsel to Uganda.

“Having contacted authorities at the airport, we were informed that Internal Security Organisation (ISO) is currently holding Ali Hussein and Hussein Mahmoud,” he added in a letter dated July 10.

Ali Hussein

“Apart from this, there has been no communication and we are unaware of the circumstances under which they were arrested,” he added.

“It is on this basis that the Consulate requests to access them with your assistance and offer them consular services as per internationally and Uganda accepted laws and norms.”

Contacted to speak on claims that the Lebanese were taken by ISO operatives, Defence Spokesperson Brigadier Richard Karemire said: “That matter is not in the realm of UPDF which I speak for.”

It is understood Internal Affairs Minister Jeje Odong has been briefed about the incident.

Efforts to reach the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for comment on Sunday were yet to bear fruit.

ISO has previously come under intense criticism over kidnaps and illegal detention of journalists, businessmen and suspected criminals.

While Lebanon does not have strong diplomatic ties with Uganda, officials said the arrest of its nationals who are doing business in Uganda will send a negative signal to potential investors elsewhere.

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