BEIRUT — Lebanese comedian Shaden Fakih was summoned Wednesday for trial at the Military Court on charges of “humiliating and harming the reputation of Internal Security Forces,” the note she received read.
Here is what we know:
• Fakih had been interrogated by the Internal Security Forces’s cyber crimes bureau in May for posting a comedic video of herself calling the ISF and asking if they could deliver her sanitary pads due to restrictions on movement during Lebanon’s coronavirus lockdown.
• Fakih’s trial date is set for June 24, 2022, she said. Fakih told L’Orient Today she remains surprised that the Military Court will try her as she is “just a citizen.”
• Commenting on Fakih’s summons, Aya Majzoub, Lebanon and Bahrain researcher at Human Rights Watch, tweeted that HRW has documented a “trend of using criminal defamation laws to intimidate government critics,” noting that “military courts have no business trying civilians.”
• The Military Court, which falls under the Defense Ministry, tries military and security forces members in relation to crimes committed on duty. According to an article published by the International Commission for Jurists, “the military courts’ jurisdiction … must be confined exclusively to the commission of military offenses by military personnel and, in turn, totally exclude the possibility of prosecuting civilians.”