Syrian girl battered to death in Lebanon, father detained

A Lebanese police officer wearing a mask stands guard in Sidon, Lebanon, on March 22, 2020.
A Lebanese police officer wearing a mask stands guard in Sidon, Lebanon, on March 22, 2020.PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIRUT (AFP) - A young Syrian girl died in Lebanon after she was reportedly beaten by her father, security forces said on Tuesday (April 7).

The girl aged around six was dead on arrival at a hospital in the northern city of Tripoli in the early hours of Tuesday, the Internal Security Forces (ISF) reported.

"Immediately after news circulated of the girl's death due to being severely beaten by her father... ISF detained him at the hospital," they said in a statement.

"During the interrogation... with the father and his wife... it appeared that they were used to beating the girl," it said.

The coroner found traces of beating on the girl's body, the ISF said in a statement.

Lebanon last month ordered all people to stay at home to stem the spread of coronavirus, which has infected 548 people and killed 19 in the country, according to official figures.

The lockdown has compounded an already dire socioeconomic situation in Lebanon, where a major downturn means 45 per cent of the population now live in poverty.

Syrians living in Lebanon after fleeing the nine-year civil war next door face even tougher circumstances, many depending on handouts from aid agencies.

In 2014, Lebanon's parliament passed a law to punish domestic violence, but rights advocates have demanded it be reformed to accelerate trials and increase sentences.