Lebanese activists in military prison after political graffiti

Published Saturday, April 21, 2012

Two leading Lebanese political activists have been held in a military prison overnight after being detained for writing political graffiti.

Khodor Salameh, author of the Jou3an (hungry) blog on Lebanese politics, and Ali Fakhry, a leading member of the Anti-Racism Movement in the country, were arrested on Friday around midnight by military forces in the Beshara Al-Khoury area in central Beirut.

They were then taken to military prison and held overnight, contrary to Lebanese law, fellow activist Saad Kurdi said.

"Holding them is illegal, especially as they had them sleeping at the military police center not the police station. To take a citizen and put him in military custody is a violation of basic rights," he said.

Kurdi said he had received an update from Salameh that they had been transferred to a regular police station on Saturday morning.

"They are trying to cover up that they took them to the military police which was illegal. We are hoping they will be released today but they might stay until Monday," he added.

Dozens of protesters on Saturday afternoon marched to the Sodeco police station where the two men were being held, demanding they receive fair treatment.

Farah Salka, a colleague of Fakhry at the Anti-Racism Movement, said he had an operation done on his stomach earlier in the week and needed specific medication.

"There are about 60 people here outside the station and more are coming," she said.

"Ali Fakhry had an operation three days ago and cannot eat, he can only have liquids. We brought him his medicine, but they [the police] won't give it to him yet."

A police spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

In February Lebanese painter and poet Semaan Khawam was charged with disrupting public order after police saw him spray-painting an image of an army soldier holding a gun on a Gemmayzeh neighborhood wall.

(Al-Akhbar)

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