News | Lebanon
On August 6, 2012, the General Security confiscated Wissam Tarif’s passport and prevented him from traveling to Turkey. Wissam Tarif leads Avaaz’s operations in the Levant. On August 7, 2012, and in light of this incident, journalist Michel Hajji Georgiou published an article titled “Abbas Ibrahim following the footsteps of Jamil Sayyed” in the L’Orient-Le Jour daily. In his article, he drew a parallel between this event and the beginning of the proceedings launched against journalist Samir Kassir years before his assassination. On August 8, 2012, the General Security Directorate sent a response to the daily, in which it underlined the journalist’s intention to “hold the General Security responsible for the assassinations”.
In an interview with the SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom, journalist Michel Hajji Georgiou said the General Security wants to sue him for his article. He expressed his surprise that the General Security could consider his article as an implicit accusation of murder and “a preparation for other similar actions”. The General Security also declared that the justice will decide if this article is aiming at preparing the public opinion to an attack against Mr. Tarif, which the General Security will later be held responsible for.
The General Security said Mr. Tarif arrived to Lebanon with an expired passport and he was asked to regularize his administrative situation with the relevant authorities, but he decided to completely ignore this request.
The General Security asked Nagib Aoun, editor-in-chief of the L’Orient-Le Jour daily to publish the response at page 1, in the column where M. Hajji Georgiou’s article was published. Activist Wissam Tarif’s passport expires on September 10, 2012, as shown in the attestation delivered by the General Security at the Beirut International Airport.