The Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) today denounced the ruling issued by a Lebanese Court against blogger “Jan Asi”. Beirut’s Publications Court, during February 12 hearing, sentenced blogger and activist “Jan Asi” to 2 months in prison and fined him the fees and expenses over an accusation of insulting President “Michel Soliman” after posting tweets on the microblogging social media website “Twitter”.
On 18th of June 2013, the Lebanese Cyber Investigation Office interrogated blogger “Jan Asi” against the backdrop of a communique filed by an unknown citizen to the office, in which he accused the blogger of insulting President “Michel Soliman” on his twitter. The blogger, via his tweets, criticized the economic polices of the president and his recurrent travel. This comes after he replied to the post of artist “Rajab Alamah” in which he spoke about his meeting with the president and discussed poverty and hunger as a fundamental mission of the UN, then “Asi” was released on his place of resident guarantees after he refused to sign a pledge not to insult the president.
ANHRI said, “The ruling issued against blogger “Jan Asi”, by Publications Court, is a new string of the series of targeting bloggers, activists and opinion makers, who peacefully voice their opinions. As well, it is a perpetuation of a series of investigations conducted by Lebanese authorities with a number of journalists, activists and opinion makers because of their views as well as journalistic work; in a bid to gag them. Consequently, such practices threaten the future of freedom of expression in lebanon, under the continuity of violations against journalists, bloggers and opinion makers, whether by citizens or the Lebanese authorities.”
ANHRI demands from Lebanese authorities to respect the freedom of expression, to suspend any form of prosecution against activists and opinion makers against the backdrop of expressing their peaceful opinions, and to provide an appropriate environment for the freedom of expression without fear or restrictions.
It urges authorities to drop all the charges pressed on the blogger and not prosecuting him and to ensure his safety.