Lebanon News

Woman who kicked minister’s guard referred to Military Tribunal

Graphic artwork provided by Lebanese designer Rami Kanso on October 18, 2019, portraying a woman who kicked an armed ministerial bodyguard turning her into a symbol of the growing anti-corruption protests in Lebanon. AFP / Rami Kanso

BEIRUT: A woman who became an icon of the Lebanese protests after she kicked the bodyguard of a former minister in the groin has been summoned to the Military Tribunal in November, a judicial source told The Daily Star Wednesday.

Malak Alaywe was charged with insulting and defaming security forces and the “military institution,” the source said.

On Oct. 17, the first day of what erupted into a nationwide uprising against Lebanon’s ruling class, the convoy of former Education Minister Akram Chehayeb was blocked by protesters in Downtown Beirut. One of his bodyguards got out of the car and fired an assault rifle into the air, sparking outrage among the crowd.

In the ensuing scuffle, Alaywe stepped forward and delivered a powerful karate kick into his groin, while he was still brandishing the rifle. A video that captured the moment has been shared thousands of times on social media and has been recreated by several artists.

Alaywe was charged by the civilian judiciary shortly after the incident, but her case was later referred to the Military Tribunal, the source said.

She was informed Wednesday that she must attend a session at the Military Court in November.

It was not immediately clear whether the charges were related to the kick or to another altercation as the charges do not mention physical assault.

The judicial source could not confirm whether the guard was a military officer.

Alaywe’s husband Mouhamad Herz posted a photo of the couple on his Facebook page with the caption “This is how we got the Medal of Honor ... a warrant from the military judiciary.”

Alaywe did not respond to The Daily Star's request for comment.

Earlier this month, Human Rights Watch criticized the practice of resorting to military courts to try civilians involved in the protest movement.

"Military courts have no business trying civilians," the watchdog said in a statement.

"Lebanon's Parliament should end this troubling practice by passing a law to remove civilians from the military court's jurisdiction entirely."

 

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