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Lebanese journalist Dima Sadek yesterday said she plans to appeal a verdict issued sentencing her to a year in prison over allegedly defaming the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM). The Lebanese court issued its ruling on a lawsuit filed by FPM head Gebran Bassil in 2020 against Sadek, who described an attack of two young men in Tripoli by alleged FPM members as “racist and Nazi.” The lawsuit declares that Sadek will have to pay LL110 million to the FPM, after being found guilty of “defamation and slander as well as inciting sectarian strife.” Sadek, who was previously targeted in a social media hate campaign, faced backlash last year after tweeting about an attack targeting writer Salman Rushdie, “the subject of a public incitement to murder campaign launched by [Hezbollah head Hassan Nasrallah’s son] Jawad Nasrallah.” Head of the Samir Kassir Foundation (SKeyes), Ayman Mhanna, said Sadek's sentence seemed politically motivated and sets a "dangerous precedent at many levels" and dubbed it revenge politics. In April, Megaphone News founder Jean Kassir and Lara Bitar, editor-in-chief of the news website The Public Source, were summoned by State Security and the Anti-Cybercrime Bureau for alleged libelous comments targeting Lebanon's top prosecutor Ghassan Oueidat and the Lebanese Forces. Last November, the Samir Kassir Foundation's SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom documented more than 800 violations of freedom of expression in Lebanon since 2016.
The Lebanese Foreign Ministry announced yesterday that it had instructed its UN mission to file a complaint to the organization's Secretary-General over the Israeli annexation of the northern part of Ghajar. The same day, commemorating the July 2006 Israeli-Lebanese war, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri condemned Israel's absorption of the northern part of Ghajar, which the United Nations Blue Line divides between Lebanon and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. The annexation, which came after repeated breaches of the southern Lebanese border by Israeli construction work, was followed by a brief rocket exchange between Israel and unidentified parties in South Lebanon. In April, Lebanon's mission to the UN was instructed to file a complaint after Israel fired rockets toward Lebanon, allegedly in retaliation against Hamas, which had attacked the country a day before.
Most regions of Lebanon today face an increased fire risk due to rising temperatures, the Environment Ministry and the Civil Defense said. “Temperatures in the interior and southern parts of the country are expected to reach up to 40 degrees Celsius during the day by Friday,” the Civil Defense said, linking the increase to hot and dry air masses originating from the Arabian Peninsula. Wildfires are a recurring problem in Lebanon, especially in the north during the summer and autumn seasons. In recent weeks, wildfires have been occurring almost daily, particularly in Akkar, where a lack of public funding and specialized Civil Defense equipment has prompted volunteer groups to provide assistance.
The Internal Security Forces announced the arrest of two people Monday night over the alleged abuse of children at the Garderêve daycare in Jdeideh, Metn. “The daycare's license has been revoked and the establishment permanently closed,” caretaker Health Minister Firass Abiad said yesterday. Abiad announced plans for the establishment of an online platform cataloging daycare centers and their compliance with ministry standards. A video circulating on social media on Monday showed apparent Garderêve employees force-feeding and hitting two infants.
In case you missed it, here’s our must-read story from yesterday: “‘Revenge’: What Dima Sadek’s imprisonment means for freedom of speech in Lebanon”
Compiled by Abbas Mahfouz