Lebanese Journalist Fined For Questioning Bassil’s Alleged Wealth

The Free Patriotic Movement has recently been taking a series of legal action against journalists, bloggers, and other pro-revolution voices who have, in whatever form, criticized the FPM or its leader former MP Gebran Bassil.

On February 21st, Journalists Dima Sadek and Charbel Khoury, and social media activist Gino Raidy were summoned by the Central Forensic Investigations Unit, based on a lawsuit by the FPM accusing them of allegedly “inciting sectarian tensions.”

According to a tweet by Daraj Media, their social media posts that caused the lawsuits fall under the international clause 19 of Human Rights.

Charbel Khoury was released after the lawsuit against him was waivered. As for Deema and Gino, they were ordered to show up on February 24th to give their statements.

However, security officials had decided to postpone their hearings on that date. It is currently not known when they will be rescheduled.

Now, there is a new target of the FPM’s lawsuit campaign: Journalist Joe Maalouf. On February 25th, Judge Jamal Khoury from Mount Lebanon ruled in favor of Gebran Bassil for his defamation lawsuit, which was filed in March 2019.

The lawsuit alleges that Maalouf had launched false accusations against Bassil on his show Hkee Jales, which translates to “Talk Straight.”

The show has since changed its name to Hawa al-Huriyya, or “The Wind of Freedom” in English.

As a result, Maalouf was ordered to pay to Bassil 10 million Lebanese pounds in damages, which amounts to a little more than $6,600, according to the official exchange rate.

https://www.facebook.com/JoeMaalouftv/

The accusations in question are related to an episode from the show that was aired around November 2015. The episode mostly dealt with the properties that Bassil personally owned.

Maalouf had reported in that TV episode that Bassil owns 38 properties that are registered in the Real Estate Bureau, and spread across Batroun, Smar Jbeil, Kfarabidda, and Cornet Chahwan.

The properties are said to have a combined value of about $22 million, which he had allegedly bought after he had begun his venture into politics, according to Maalouf in his episode.

In response, Bassil’s legal team stated that the show had “invented fabrications of Bassil, saying that he owns a private jet, amassed a fortune of about a billion dollars, making deals, squandered the national budget in sensitive cases in the fields of telecommunications, electricity, and water.”

This is the episode in question (as of yet, there are no translations):

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