@dubai.uae.dxb | The Daily Star/Mohamad Azakir Home Diaspora GCC Lebanon has made a deal with the United Arab Emirates to release 11 Lebanese citizens from custody to return to their country. One of the detainees was already sent home and arrived at the Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport on Sunday. The others are reportedly due to arrive this week. The citizens were released in a deal between Lebanon and the UAE made possible by the efforts of Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim, the director-general of Lebanese General Security. Ibrahim had been in contact with Emirati officials for nearly 2 years to resolve the files of Lebanese detainees in the UAE. Four Lebanese were already released last month and Ibrahim has been making efforts to secure the release for over a dozen more. 11 have just been freed, and there are 15 more that will remain in the UAE to face trial, according to Ibrahim. The reason for their detainment was not publicized. In December 2020, Emirati authorities arrested 14 Lebanese while they were playing football. No reason was given for their arrest according to Lebanon’s Ambassador to the UAE, Fouad Dandan. Back in 2019, eight Lebanese were detained in UAE on charges of having ties to Hezbollah. Five of them were released, one was sentenced to life in prison, and two were sentenced to 10 years.