Lebanon News

Man held for deriding PM over Hariri killing

File- Police members stand at a checkpoint in Tripoli, Sunday, May 18, 2014. (The Daily Star/Antoine Amrieh)

BEIRUT: A Tripolitan man has been detained by the Internal Security Forces for two weeks over a Facebook post insulting late former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and his son, current Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri, a security source confirmed to The Daily Star Friday. The source could not specify the exact charge leveled against the man, Walid Radwan, but said he had been interrogated and was being held based on the orders of a public prosecutor in the north.

On Sept. 14, Radwan had shared a photo in which Hezbollah MP Nawwaf Musawi posed before an image of the party’s late military commander Mustafa Badreddine.

Badreddine was one of the four suspects initially indicted by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon for Hariri’s assassination.

Radwan wrote along with the photo: “Sheikh Saad [Hariri], we killed [Rafik] Hariri and we are proud. And we gloat because you cannot do anything about it. Let us see if you can form a government or make any decision without the consent of your father’s murderers. Soon we will put the names of the four indicted [by the STL] on the airport, hospitals, highways and universities. What do you think about that?”

Though Radwan deleted the post several hours after publishing it, he was nevertheless summoned by the ISF’s Information Branch the next day and has been detained ever since. His family filed a request for his release, but it was declined by authorities. Radwan’s sister Layal told The Daily Star he was interrogated Thursday by an investigative judge, who postponed the decision until Tuesday.

Radwan had shared the post with his Facebook friends, but it was later screen-captured and started circulating, “with every person coming up with their own conclusions,” Layal said, even though she claimed he meant no insult to the Hariris.

Layal clarified that he is a supporter of Saad Hariri’s ally, the Lebanese Forces.

Perhaps because Radwan has shared LF images on Facebook, many observers have interpreted the post in question as a satiric critique of Hezbollah.

Lebanon has witnessed a surge in the number of activists and social media users summoned by the ISF over social media posts. From June- August of this year, the Samir Kassir Eyes Center reported approximately 18 cases of the Anti-Cybercrime and Intellectual Property Rights Bureau calling in social media users over their posts.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on September 29, 2018, on page 3.




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