In a recent revelation on social platform X (previously Twitter), Layal Alekhtiar, a Lebanese journalist working for the Saudi channel al-Arabiya, announced that the Lebanese military prosecutor has issued a warrant for her search. This action comes in response to her interview with Avichay Adraee, the Arabic-speaking spokesman for the Israeli army, which took place shortly after the onset of the war between Israel and Hamas on Oct. 7.
Lebanese citizens are legally forbidden from contacting Israelis, with violations subject to prosecution.
Alekhtiar, who previously worked with Lebanese channels LBCI and OTV, labeled the warrant as "political persecution in the form of judicial oppression." She emphasized that this comes after a judicial inquiry against her was initiated at the behest of individuals "close to Hezbollah."
Attorney Ghassan Maoula, on behalf of a group of journalists and former prisoners in Israel, reportedly petitioned for a judicial inquiry against Alekhtiar with the military tribunal on Oct. 12, according to the official National News Agency (Ani).
Following her interview, Alekhtiar faced a wave of criticism on social media, particularly for addressing Avichay Adraee as "estez" (mister). Attempts to reach her for a comment are so far unsuccessful.
Addressing the military tribunal's decision, Jad Shahrour, communications chief for the Samir Kassir Foundation (SKEyes), condemned the court's actions. "Journalists can only be judged as such in front of the press tribunal," he stated, advocating for a professional discussion and accountability, without resorting to hate speech or defamation campaigns against Alekhtiar.
In response to these events, the Kataeb party criticized "Hezbollah's online campaign" against "free Lebanese journalists who refuse to see their country dragged into war." The party underscored that it wasn't the first time the military justice system, which is deemed unfit for such cases, aligns itself with another wave of repression of journalists in the country.
Similarly, the Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) released a statement rejecting the "use of justice against press freedom," regardless of the opinions expressed.
Several journalists critical of Hezbollah, notably Dima Sadek, Nadim Koteiche, Layal Alekhtiar, as well as Lebanese Forces (FL) spokesperson Charles Jabbour, have faced online defamatory campaigns, complete with hate messages and death threats, spearheaded by pro-Hezbollah accounts, since early November.