FRI 15 - 2 - 2019
Date: Jul 2, 2018
Source: The Daily Star
Journalist gets jail time for Bassil defamation
BEIRUT: Baabda judge Nadine Najem Friday sentenced journalist Fidaa Itani to four months in prison for defaming caretaker Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil on social media. Bassil sued Itani over a Facebook post on June 30, 2017, in which the journalist commented on “random killings,” “hundreds of arrests” and “forced return to Syria” during Bassil’s tenure, the source said. “[This] country is worthy of Gebran Bassil,” Itani wrote at the end of the post, using a derogatory Arabic-language expression. The journalist was also ordered to pay LL10 million ($6,550) in damages, a Free Patriotic Movement statement said. “Sentencing a journalist to four months in prison for a critical Facebook post is an outrageous attack on free speech that lays bare the lack of meaningful protections for freedom of expression in Lebanon,” said Bassam Khawaja, Lebanon researcher at Human Rights Watch.

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