Responding to the trial of Lebanese comedian and activist Shaden Fakih, who will appear on Friday before the Military Court on charges of insulting and harming the reputation of the Internal Security Forces (ISF), Diana Semaan, Amnesty International’s Acting Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said:
“The case of Shaden Fakih is the latest example of the Lebanese authorities’ abuse of defamation laws to curtail freedom of expression by trying journalists and activists in the Military Court.
“Over the past three years, Lebanese security and military agencies have been increasingly harassing and interrogating activists in relation to social media posts that criticize the authorities, often referring their cases to the military justice system for investigation. This prosecution is a clear violation of the right to freedom of expression, which Lebanon has most recently committed to upholding during its 2021 Universal Periodic Review before the United Nation Human Rights Council. These shameless attempts to stifle activism and criticism must stop.
“Lebanese authorities must immediately drop the case against Shaden Fakih, stop subjecting civilians in general and activists in particular to the Military Court and end the abuse of laws on defamation to suppress criticism of officials and institutions. It’s essential that the Lebanese government brings national laws on the right to freedom of expression fully in line with international human rights law and standards.”
Full text can be found here.