Beau Rivage Detention Center
The Beau Rivage is the name of a hotel that served as the Syrian intelligence headquarters in Beirut from 1987 until 2005. It is located in the Ramlet al-Bayda neighborhood, a residential area close to the beach in Beirut. At the time of the war, when the city was divided between East and West Beirut it was on the West side. The Syrian Army also occupied a second building in the area, an eleven story building two blocks away from the hotel. These two buildings served as interrogation and detention centers for all people arrested by the Syrian Army or handed over to them by other militias inside Beirut.
Detainees were kept in secret, with no access to a trial or family visits. Those who weren't released were later sent to the Syrian Main Intelligence Headquarters in Anjar, in the Beqaa Valley on their way to Syrian prisons where they were transferred extrajudicially under the same conditions.
Former detainees accounts testify to the torture conducted in both buildings. These included being placed on a chair and beaten on the knees with a 4 x 5 inch piece of wood from a door frame; threat of sexual assault to wives and daughters; repeated beatings; and electrical shocks. The building was a feared symbol of Syrian power in Lebanon. On March 16, 2005 the Syrian Army withdrew from Beirut leaving its facilities behind. Lebanese citizens celebrated this day but no investigations on the site were conducted. The hotel reopened to the public in 2006 and the second building was left abandoned except for a shop that opened in the ground floor. Due to its residential location in Beirut and the secrecy kept about the practices of this center, neighbors are still reluctant to share information on what they witnessed.