May 31, 2016
Lebanese authorities arrested a lawyer and human rights activist, Nabil al-Halabi, on May 30, 2016 over his Facebook posts criticizing government officials. The authorities should immediately release him.
In his Facebook posts, al-Halabi accused Interior Ministry officials of corruption and possible complicity with people arrested by Internal Security forces on March 27 in connection with sex trafficking of Syrian women. On April 12, Interior Minister Nohad Machnouk filed a libel and defamation complaint against al-Halabi with the Public Prosecution in Beirut, citing the Facebook posts. A senior advisor to Machnouk also filed a separate libel and defamation complaint over the Facebook posts. Imprisonment for defamation normally violates freedom of expression as guaranteed under international law, and al-Halabi’s detention may also violate Lebanese law.
“Al-Halabi’s arrest for criticizing Lebanese officials and the intimidating way it was carried out sets a dangerous precedent,” said Nadim Houry, deputy Middle East director. “The Interior Ministry may not like what al-Halabi wrote, but that didn’t give them the right to storm into his house and lock him up.”
February 26, 2016
The UIA has been informed of the attacks perpetrated against several Lebanese lawyers on February 5, 2016.
It understands that the attacks took place at a time when the lawyers concerned were fulfilling their duties and while they were apparently getting ready to inform their clients of the criminal charge levied against them. Therefore, they were apparently attacked precisely because they were lawyers and because of their actions within the context of discharging their functions.
The UIA wishes to recall and emphasize that lawyers and counsel must be provided protection while discharging their functions.
The Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, adopted by the UN in 1989, recall that as essential agents of the administration of justice and the defence of citizens’ rights, they must be provided special protection.
These principles form part of the instruments for the protection of fundamental rights as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights, as well as Economic and Social Rights, signed in New York in 1977. They implement the protections of the latter covenant with regard to the specific situation of lawyers.
BEIRUT: The Future Bloc condemned Tuesday a weekend Israeli airstrike on the Syrian town of Quneitra that killed six Hezbollah fighters and an Iranian General, as it called for distancing Lebanon from regional fires. In another condemnation, the bloc denounced an attack waged by a group of pro-regime Syrian lawyers against a delegation of Lebanese lawyers representing the Bar Association during an Arab Lawyers Union conference in Cairo Sunday.