Ziad Itani's Case Under the Spotlight after 'Innocence' Declaration

Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Saturday said the case of satirist Ziad Itani must not be exploited for “tarnishing” the role of the judiciary and competent security forces, Hariri's media office said.

“To put things in the right perspective, the case of Ziad Itani must be withdrawn from political and media grappling, and stop using it for purposes that harm the role of the judiciary and security apparatuses,” said Hariri.

Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq announced Friday that comedian Ziad Itani detained on spy charges is “innocent,” as reports said a former Internal Security Forces officer is being interrogated over “fabricating” the case of spying for Israel.

“The case is in the hands of judicial and security bodies which assume their responsibilities in accordance with the laws away from any politicization,” the PM said.

“The latest developments in Itani's case are in the judiciary's custody which alone has the right to decide and refer it to the competent security authority for investigation. Attempts to exploit and politicize the issue are unacceptable,” he added.

Mashnuq also said the Lebanese should apologize to Itani “Innocence is not enough. Pride in him and his patriotism is the only firm truth,” he tweeted, slamming those who allegedly framed Itani as “spiteful, foolish and sectarian.”

For his part, Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat lashed out at Mashnouq, he said: “The Lebanese have nothing to do with an apology. No one authorized the minister to speak on their behalf. The authority has to apologize to the Lebanese for the great corruption and chaos,” instead, said Jumblat in a tweet.

TV networks reported that the ISF Intelligence Branch is interrogating Lt. Col. Suzanne al-Hajj over “fabricating the case against Ziad Itani.”

Itani was arrested in November 2017 on charges of collaborating with Israel and gathering information on political figures.

Source: Naharnet

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