Military Court Sentences Reporter to Jail

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية W460

A Lebanese court has sentenced reporter Rami Aysha to six months in jail, a press freedom watchdog said Friday, calling for the conviction to be scrapped and all charges dropped.

Aysha was abducted on August 30 in southern Beirut, a bastion of Hizbullah, while investigating a story on arms trafficking, and then turned over to Lebanese authorities, who jailed him.

"During this process, he was repeatedly interrogated and tortured," the Reporters Without Borders watchdog said.

He was released on bail on September 27, and then sentenced in absentia last week by a military court to six months in jail "on a charge of purchasing firearms," RSF said.

Aysha is currently outside of Lebanon but plans to return on December 8, when authorities are expected to arrest him in Beirut airport.

RSF, citing Aysha, said he would "be held indefinitely by the Public Security Department pending a new trial before the military court."

A new trial "could result in the confirmation of the (latest) judgment and sentence to prison," RSF added.

Speaking to Agence France Presse via the Internet, Aysha said he would challenge the judgment.

"I will challenge this (ruling)," he said, adding that he would not cancel his return home, despite the sentence.

"This is the place where I live and I don't care about their injustice. I will never stop reporting," he added.

RSF called for all charges against Aysha to be dropped.

"We call for the definitive withdrawal of all the proceedings against Aysha and the quashing of his conviction," RSF said.

"As a journalist, Aysha was doing a story on arms trafficking when arrested. It is crucial that the Lebanese judicial authorities distinguish between journalistic investigation and illicit trafficking."

Swiss NGO Alkarama, which co-signed the RSF statement, also condemned Aysha's conviction in military court.

"Trials of civilians before military courts such as Aysha's trial cannot be regarded as fair," it said.

Aysha works for several international news organizations including Time Magazine and Spiegel Online.

Comments 20
Thumb geha 06 December 2013, 15:14

what a shame. our judicial is now doing what hizbushaitan asks them to do? what a shame.....

Thumb _mowaten_ 06 December 2013, 15:45

well canadianadam, sometimes it looks like a donkey, smells like a donkey, sounds like a donkey, but it turns out it's geha.

Thumb _mowaten_ 06 December 2013, 15:50

there is absolutely nothing linking this to hezbollah, the guy was investigating weapons traffickers and apparently they busted his cover.
having said this, the state should do everything in its power to protect journalists and these charges are ridiculous. hope he wins the trial when he comes back to challenge it.

Thumb benzona 06 December 2013, 15:53

Movaten Ajami, thanks for your precious contribution. The playmobiles you're looking for and in the box under your bed. Please let the grownups talk, go play one hour and finish your homework.

Thumb _mowaten_ 06 December 2013, 15:57

wow benzo, i bet all the 4th graders are very impressed by you.

Missing canadianadam 06 December 2013, 16:01

Nice try Mowaten - you were probably the one who interrogated him. Of course this has no links to HA, who else traffics arms in South Lebanon that's worthy of journalistic attention?? Lol. Let me guess the Zoaiters and Meqdads get their weapons from these illegal traffickers, but it's not HA.

Thumb _mowaten_ 06 December 2013, 16:07

oh yea i forgot, you decided that only hezbollah has weapons in lebanon, so "who else" can it be?
i bet they also armed assir, because he was in south lebanon

Thumb _mowaten_ 06 December 2013, 16:28

ice-boy: yay! does that mean you're going to stop following me everywhere like a desperate puppy now?

Thumb EagleDawn 06 December 2013, 16:32

it is mowaten's culture to insult. Nothing new.

Thumb chrisrushlau 06 December 2013, 22:10

A free press is a knife at the throat of the Taef Accord. For example, if it were published that more than half of all Lebanese are Shias, it would bring on a tsunami of violence and other bad stuff that we dare not even imagine. We have leaders to protect us from thinking about such things. We trust them because, that way, it is their fault when this whole thing blows up in our faces. In the meantime, it's easy money and it's fun to abuse innocent people, in a strange sick way.

Default-user-icon George (Guest) 06 December 2013, 15:29

Welcome to banana country

Missing canadianadam 06 December 2013, 15:35

Okay FT, you make enough commentary on here, why don't you take your chance at writing the article big shot. It go something like this and would obviously involve the use of your thesaurus: "In South Beirut, which has no affiliation with HA, Rami Aysha was arrested for pretending to cover a story about illegal arms smuggling, and we ve proven conclusively there is no link to HA - who for the record are not involved in her illegal proliferation of arms and narcotics -- this editorial authored by none other than GMA. Get a life.

Missing canadianadam 06 December 2013, 16:45

Nice try. There's your problem I'm that you think we all have short term memory loss. We ve seen your posts degenerate over the last few months. You simply try and make little quips and bash m14. For the record, il not m14 aligned, but I'm going to call you on your lack of pretty much anything that resembles an intelligent contribution to this forum. Not enough of a gold fish memory to see you turn farci for your FPM paycheque.

Thumb _mowaten_ 06 December 2013, 16:59

funny how NOBODY on this forum admits to supporting m14.
but i understand, i'd be ashamed to support a bunch of losers and thieves.

Thumb _mowaten_ 06 December 2013, 15:47

i never said "only the ISF" why do you feel compelled to lie all the time?
also, why do you always try to pull me into talking to you? i already i was not interested in wasting my time with you.

Thumb _mowaten_ 06 December 2013, 16:27

i said the ISF has a long history of torturing prisoners, even for a hashish joint some kids got beaten up for days and nights.
but i never said that only ISF did it, as you said above.

Thumb _mowaten_ 06 December 2013, 20:07

take your meds dude, or stop taking them, or put that pipe down, i dont know... but do something.

Thumb _mowaten_ 06 December 2013, 15:56

phoenix yes this trial is ridiculous, and i think the only reason they managed to sentence him was that it was in absentia. hopefully when he comes back he can have a real trial and we should all support him.
but why are you addressing hezbollah in your comment? they have nothing to do with this here.

Thumb EagleDawn 06 December 2013, 16:37

lol @sammy:) I noticed that too! He's been edgy lately:)

Thumb _mowaten_ 06 December 2013, 20:14

always a pleasure to debate with you phoenix, big change compared to the specimen around ;)
as for hezbollah i respect your suspicion as long as you call it that, anyone can suspect as they wish, but to accuse one needs proof.
also, i dont think HA has that much influence on the military court, because we saw many suspicious cases that played against them, like freeing recidivist israeli agents because they were "sick"
that's just one among many others... you think if HA had that much influence on the military court this would happen?
also, i think not attending the trial and being judged in absentia had a big negative impact here. i'll wait and see what happens when he comes back, he'll probably be arrested at the airport and re-tried, and that will be the moment of truth.