ISF Released Video Explaining Lawyer’s Arrest

AP Photo

Last week, Lebanese were stunned by videos of the Internal Security Forces assaulting and arresting a lawyer for allegedly violating the odd/even license plate rule.

After the incident, videos emerged showing security forces dragging lawyer Ephrem Al-Halabi out of his car, pinning him to the ground, handcuffing him, and carrying him away from his car.

In a quick response to the assault, the president of the Beirut Bar Association, Melhem Khalaf, stormed the police station to retrieve the lawyer.

Videos circulated of Khalaf going off on the security forces for attacking the lawyer, putting him in handcuffs, rather than doing their job in arresting actual criminals.

The ISF has since offered its side of the story, releasing security camera footage in which the lawyer is seen throwing a punch at an ISF officer.

In its statement, the ISF said that upon reaching the checkpoint, the lawyer objected to getting fined for violating the odd/even license plate rule.

It’s worth noting that based on the decision of the Higher Defence Council, lawyers are exempt from the driving restrictions in the lockdown, Khalaf‘s team told The961.

However, this exception was excluded from the circular issued by the Interior Ministry, hence giving security forces a reason to stop the lawyer and write a fine.

According to the ISF, a verbal altercation began between the officer and the lawyer after which the latter “proceeded to hit the officer, forcing him to walk back several steps where he was almost hit by a passing vehicle.”

That escalated tensions and the lawyer refused to comply with further requests of the officer, after which the officer decided to impound the car.

Only after further resistance from the lawyer, did the security forces forcibly remove him from the car and arrest him as shown in the videos.

“This method of shackling adopted by the elements is legal and correct… and it is adopted in all countries when anyone tries to attack the security/police or refuse to comply with them,” noted the ISF.

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