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Lebanon: judge issues arrest warrant for journalist on treason charge

A girl stands next to a copy of the Lebanese local English-language newspaper "The Daily Star" in the capital Beirut on August 8, 2019[JOSEPH EID/AFP via Getty Images]
A girl stands next to a copy of the Lebanese local English-language newspaper "The Daily Star" in the capital Beirut on August 8, 2019 [JOSEPH EID/AFP via Getty Images]

A Military Court Investigative Judge in Lebanon, Najat Abu Chacra, has issued an arrest warrant in absentia against journalist Maria Maalouf, on charges of "espionage, treason and incitement" in connection with an interview she gave to Israeli army spokesman Avichay Adraee. The journalist is accused of violating Article 7/1 of the law covering the boycott of Israel.

The warrant has been issued months after a group of Lebanese prisoners released from Israeli prisons and two media workers submitted a complaint to the Military Public Prosecution against Maalouf, after she appeared on an Israeli TV channel and gave an interview to Adraee. The complaint accused Maalouf of the crimes of "dealing with the Israeli enemy, treason, espionage, incitement, undermining the prestige of the state, weakening national sentiment, and encouraging the enemy to kill the Lebanese people."

According to Lebanese law, Israel is an enemy of Lebanon, and the state considers all forms of cooperation with its southern neighbour to be illegal and deserving of the most severe penalties in accordance with the provisions of the General and Military Penal Code, as well as the law of boycotting Israel.

In 2018, the Lebanese judiciary issued an arrest warrant in absentia against Maalouf for the alleged slander and defamation of Hezbollah's Secretary General, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah. The case, which also includes accusations of incitement against Nasrallah, was filed against Maalouf by a group of lawyers.

Israel occupies some Lebanese territory, namely the Shebaa Farms and the Kfar Shuba Hills. A UN Security Council resolution issued in 1978 urging Tel Aviv to withdraw from all Lebanese land has never been implemented.

READ: Protest in Lebanon against capital control draft billĀ 

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