Maronite Archbishop Arrested After Returning To Lebanon From Israel

Ici Beyrouth

On Monday morning, the Maronite Archbishop of Haifa and the Holy Land and Patriarchal Vicar for Jerusalem, the Palestinian Territories, and the Hashemite Kingdom, Archbishop Moussa Al-Hajj, arrived at the Naqoura crossing back to Lebanon and was arrested at the Public Security Center.

The arrest was reportedly based on a decision by the military investigative judge Fadi Akiki, and the interrogation lasted for eight hours.

Time and after the intervention of higher ecclesiastical and judicial references, the bishop said he felt humiliated as a result of being subjected to a thorough inspection that included all the items he was transporting with him.

Al-Hajj was “accused” of allegedly transferring money and medicine from Lebanese fleeing to Israel to their relatives in Lebanon.

His name was linked to the issue of changing the head of the military court last year, Brigadier General Mounir Shehadeh, and appointing the former head of the combat branch, Brigadier General Ali al-Hajj, in his place.

This came reportedly in an attempt to link the Lebanese army chief, General Joseph Aoun, to this issue on the grounds that Archbishop Moussa Al-Hajj has obtained permission to move between Lebanon and Israel from the army, and on the grounds that General Aoun wanted not to be charged.

Political sources linked the arrest of Archbishop Moussa Al-Hajj to an attempt to pressure Patriarch Al-Rahi to change his firm positions on the situation in Lebanon, related to full sovereignty.

These sources linked the path followed by Judge Fadi Akiki, whose name was linked to moving files and allegations based on political directives, such as the files related to the Tayouneh clashes.

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