General Security Returns Filmmaker Lucien Bourjeily's Passport

The General Security returned on Friday the passport of filmmaker Lucien Bourjeily, which was confiscated when he submitted it for renewal on Wednesday.

Bourjeily dropped his passport at the General Security on Wednesday to renew it before a planned trip to London, where he is supposed to present his play “Vanishing State” at the LIFT Festival.

But the confiscation almost prevented him from heading to the United Kingdom.

"This is your victory… over submission… over tyranny and oppression and silencing free speech activism,” Bourjeily said on his official Facebook page after he got his passport back.

"It is indeed this huge public opinion pressure that made them go back on their decision 48 hours later,” he added.

The controversial filmmaker stated that he has won one “battle.”

"But the fight is not over,” he noted, calling on the people, media outlets and organizations who supported him in the past two days to continue lobbying against what he called violations against (freedom of) thought and expression.

Bourjeily thanked Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq for “contacting the General Security and requesting the immediate release of (his) passport from arbitrary and unfair" confiscation.

“The Minister promised that during his term in one will again be prosecuted the way I was by General Security and the Ministry is looking into the matter to solve this issue permanently,” his statement revealed.

“Let’s hope that this will be the start of some real positive change in Lebanon,” he expressed.

The passport's confiscation wasn't Bourjeily's first confrontation with the General Security as in 2013, the censors banned his play “Will it Pass or Not?” which criticizes the censorship bureau's practices.

"The reason? - They categorically refused to give me a reason... I pleaded for an answer but they kept refusing to give the reason... they said that we will revert back to you in the coming month or month and a half and they hinted 'you should know why... something that happened in 2013' [sic],” the artist wrote on his Facebook page on Wednesday, after his passport was taken.

He continued: “No SIR I don't know why; I've never been convicted of a crime...Yes indeed now I know why....What a high price we have to pay as Lebanese citizens for Freedom of Expression and in our fight against corruption and censorship....[sic].”



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