After a lawsuit led to his arrest by the Cyber Crimes Bureau, the Lebanese journalist and activist Charbel Khoury has been released. He attributed his clearance to the huge campaign of support that has been active since he was called in for investigation on Friday.
For context, on February 21st, President of the Free Patriotic Movement Gebran Bassil filed a lawsuit against journalist Dima Sadek for “spreading false news and inciting sectarianism and racism,” as she shared with the public in a tweet.
Sadek said that she had received a call from the Central Forensic Investigations Unit requesting that she shows up at noon on Monday, February 24th, to give her statement.
During the phone call, they asked her to provide them with activist and blogger Gino Raidy’s number to summon him for investigation as well, but she did not because she didn’t have his number.
Later that day, Raidy received a similar phone call and was informed that former minister Gebran Bassil had filed a lawsuit against him, too.
Raidy, who’s an outspoken pro-revolution activist since day 1, was called in for questioning on the same day and time as Dima Sadek, also for allegedly inciting sectarianism and racism, in addition to defamation and libel.
Similarly, journalist and activist Charbel Khoury was summoned by the Cyber Crime Bureau in light of a lawsuit filed against him by the FPM’s Advisor for Economic Affairs, Charbel Kordahi. Khoury was set to be investigated at 10 AM on Monday.
Reportedly, the lawsuit came in response to a social media post that Khoury had posted earlier in which he strongly criticized Kordahi and used a swearword to insult him.
As a result of the three summons, a large support campaign was launched by Lebanese social media activists. They called for protests on Monday in front of Adliyeh and the Cyber Crime Bureau to support the would-be detainees.
However, on Sunday, Dima Sadek and Gino Raidy were informed that their interrogation sessions were postponed.
As for Charbel Khoury, Public Prosecutor of Mount Lebanon, Judge Ghada Aoun, ordered his arrest on Monday morning after his interrogation had taken place.
In light of his arrest, protesters rallied, as planned, in front of the Cyber Crime Bureau where Khoury was being held. 17 lawyers were present at the protest site, from where they followed his case closely and worked to release him from custody.
This took place in sync with a massive social media campaign demanding his release, and in which several prominent NGOs, such as Amnesty International, participated and demanded the activist’s release.
And finally, before Monday evening, Charbel Khoury was set free after Charbel Kordahi waivered his lawsuit. His celebrating supporters in the street gave him a warm welcome.
Upon his release, Khoury said that the lawsuit against him was dropped “because of the October 17th uprising.”