Hezbollah Is Suing Rabih Tlais Just Hours After He Emerges From Going Missing

Rabin Tlais/Mohammed Zaatari

Member of the Lebanese Parliament and spokesperson of Ibrahim Mousawi, filed a lawsuit with the top investigative judge of Bekaa against journalist of Sawt International for alleged defamation.

In response, Sawt issued the following in a statement:

continues to terrorize journalists from exercising their freedom of speech, since MP Ibrahim Al-Mousawi, as a representative of and the Resistance Bloc in the parliament, filed a lawsuit to the investigative judge in Bekaa, Amani Salama, against our journalist in Sawt International, .”

“Through the legal representative, attorney Montazer Nasir al-Din, the lawsuit claims that Tlais utilized publications and writings to defame, slander, incite sectarian strife, and accuse the party of being behind the port explosion, as well as labeling as a terrorist organization,” the local media outlet added.

This development comes after Rabih Tlais went missing on Thursday, with no explanation about his disappearance besides speculation that might be the reason behind it.

A month ago, Tlais published photographs and videos proving that there is at an alleged missile factory located in a residential neighborhood in .

In a more recent video-message that started circulating after his disappearance, Tlais said that he feared he’d be framed over his work. People close to him said that he spoke of a “big” issue he was in before he disappeared.

However, a protest was held this morning outside the Justice Palace demanding information about the journalist’s whereabouts. Within half an hour, Rabih Tlais “just showed up” with no explanation.

This isn’t the first lawsuit that files for alleged “defamation” related to the Port explosion.

The -backed party is going after Lebanese media and/or its reporters, as well as officials, like General Ashraf Rifi, or influential figures, like Bahaa Hariri, the brother of prime minister-designate .

Earlier this month, ’s attorney filed a lawsuit against former Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi, alleging “incitement, sedition, and threat to civil peace” because he blamed the Port blast on the party. 

Rifi, who had also served as head of the Internal Security Forces (ISF), testified before Judge Sawan, that the , which exploded the port, was sent to by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards for Hezbollah.

followed his lawsuit against General Rifi with similar action against former MP Fares Souaid and the Lebanese Forces’ media website for accusing of standing behind the deadly blast.

A week later, it filed a lawsuit against Bahaa Hariri, who has been openly criticizing the -backed party.

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