Lebanon Lebanese journalist sentenced to six months in prison

Following a trial in absentia which found Ghaddar guilty on charges of “defamation against the Lebanese Army”, supporters of Ghaddar who is currently a visiting fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, took to twitter to blast this verdict.

BEIRUT: A military court verdict sentencing Lebanese journalist Hanin Ghaddar to six months in prison has sparked an outcry on social media, with supporters expressing their outrage at this decision.

Following a trial in absentia which found Ghadir guilty on charges of “defamation against the Lebanese Army,” supporters of Ghaddar, a visiting fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, took to Twitter to blast the verdict.

“Lebanese decline in freedom of expression continues,” said fellow Lebanese journalist Joyce Karam, while her Washington Institute colleague Robert Satloff denounced “this outrageous verdict and what passes for justice in Lebanon.”

Ghaddar, who was previously the managing editor of NOW News in Beirut, has been embroiled in controversy since her 2014 criticism of Hezbollah’s military intervention in Syria.
During a 2014 panel discussion put together by the Washington Institute titled ‘Syria and Its Repercussions’, Ghaddar made comments suggesting that the Lebanese Army distinguishes between “Sunni and Shia Terror,” and tolerates Hezbollah, triggering an outcry from certain Lebanese publications.

Ghaddar was portrayed by Al-Akhbar newspaper as a supporter of Israel, giving the impression that the journalist was on the same panel as Israeli politician Ehud Barak, who was merely one of the many speakers invited to attend the annual conference. Ghaddar participated in the same conference but did not speak on the same panel.

Al-Akhbar alleged that Ghaddar strayed from discussing Syria, instead focusing on Iran’s plan for “regional dominance”, Hezbollah’s role in the region, and the party’s role in Syria stirring the Shiite-Sunni conflict.

Hezbollah’s Al-Manar also followed suit, accusing Ghaddar of speaking alongside Barak, in violation of Lebanese law, and attacking “the resistance” and Lebanese Army.

In the wake of these media attacks, Ghaddar released a statement on her website rebutting the campaign against her, arguing that her appearance was not in violation of Lebanese laws.

“My patriotism is not defined according to the political allegiance of the aforementioned media outlets, which need to have their patriotism tested due to the threats and accusation of treason in some of their writings against me and other colleagues,” she said.

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