The trajectory of sex offenders through the Lebanese criminal justice system: a tale of human rights violations
2016-06-20T11:24:17Z (GMT) by
This study aims to examine the trajectory of sex offenders through the Lebanese criminal justice system while highlighting various human rights violations. It attempts to fill in the gaps within the literature through building on the existing research and by examining the processes and experiences of arrest, detention, court, prison and release. Recently, numerous scholars have argued that most criminal justice systems are following a popular punitive trend rather than focusing on rehabilitation. This study through its focus on human rights violations, participants attitudes and beliefs as well as issues of rehabilitation and treatment of prisoners firmly places Lebanon within the global trend of popular punitiveness. Seventy-three interviews were carried out with sex offenders, police officers, prison guards, judges and lawyers within Lebanon. These qualitative interviews captured criminal justice professionals and offenders experiences, attitudes and perceptions surrounding sex offending and the criminal justice system. The thematic analysis of the interviews specifically focused on uncovering how sex offenders moved through and were dealt with by the Lebanese criminal justice system. Human rights violations were found to be abundant at the various stages of the criminal justice system. Participants highlighted events such as the excessive use of torture within police stations as well as prisons, the use of forced confessions, and the lack of legal representation. Numerous factors were found to play a role in conceding the copious violations of sex offenders rights occurring at the various stages of the criminal justice system. These factors included corruption, the lack of accountability, police culture, the commonly held belief that offenders are undeserving of human rights, the lack of training, and religion. In investigating the structure and the functioning of the criminal justice system, it became evident that religion played a vital role. Religion dictated professionals positions within the criminal justice system and influenced participants beliefs and attitudes surrounding sex offenders. Because of its influence, religion played a vital role in paving the way for the re-occurrence of human right violations. For example, religion granted the criminalisation of homosexuality and the act of de-virginizing as well as legalising marital rape, all of which result in human rights violations. In order to move Lebanon, and other punitive countries, towards a more rehabilitative criminal justice approach, this study highlights the importance of training, change in legislation, as well as the separation of religion from law.