Human rights groups demand the release of an American journalist in Lebanon


LEBANON (AP) – Lebanese authorities should release a self-employed American journalist who was arrested in Beirut last month and remains in custody even after a prosecutor decreed her release, two said on Wednesday. International human rights groups.

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International reported Nada Homsi’s arrest without a court order on November 16. It is not clear why he was beaten up and his arrest is now arbitrary, the groups said.

Diala Chehade, Homsi’s lawyer, said that a small amount of cannabis was found at his apartment during the raid. Chehade said police contacted a prosecutor, who issued an arrest warrant against Homsi and his Palestinian partner. Electronics and some documents were confiscated, he told The Associated Press.

Members of the General Security are deployed at border crossings, ports and the country’s only international airport, and the department usually treats foreigners by issuing visas and residence permits.

“Not only did the security guards raid Homsi’s apartment without a court order, but they also violated his rights to detention by denying him access to a lawyer,” said Aya Majzoub. Lebanon researcher at HRW.

Chehade said that Homsi lives in the predominantly Christian neighbourhood of Ashrafieh in Beirut and that earlier this year he had raised a Palestinian flag in his apartment in which he angered the mayor of the area who complained to the Lebanese army. . Army intelligence arrived at his apartment and asked Homsi to remove the flag, which he did, Chehade said.

Homsi wrote a post on his Facebook account detailing the flag incident in May, the lawyer said.

“I think that was the reason that led to the attack,” Chehade said, adding that they found cannabis during the attack.


The two rights groups said that although the prosecutor ordered her release on November 25, General Security issued an expulsion order for her and “continues to detain her arbitrarily.”

“The refusal of the General Security to release Homsi despite the prosecutor’s order is a flagrant abuse of power and a very worrying indication of the security agency’s lack of respect for the rule of law,” Majzoub said. .

On his Twitter account, Homsi writes that he currently works for National Public Radio, NPR, and usually writes about Syria and Lebanon. Homsi has worked with several Arab and international outlets, most recently NPR.

General security officials continue to insist that Homsi is detained “for security reasons”, but have not provided any details to Chehade that would allow him to prepare a defence, the group said. They added that no security or military charges had been filed against Homsi, but she was charged with drug use.

Chehade applied for Homsi’s release on November 25, and on the same day, the Beirut prosecutor ordered his release. However, General Security continued to detain Homsi on the pretext that she was working in the country without the proper work permit.

Chehade said General Security officials told her that Homsi was detained for security reasons without saying what the reasons were.


“The continuation of the detention is a stubborn act by the General Security or a deliberate policy they have made with other foreigners before” to deport them, Chehade said.