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News | Lebanon

Othman meets journalist beaten at protest by ISF
December 18, 2017
Source: The Daily Star

During a meeting Saturday [December 16, 2017] with a Lebanese journalist beaten by an Internal Security Forces officer at a recent protest near the U.S. Embassy, head of the force Maj. Gen. Imad Othman said the incident was limited and carried out by officers under attack from protesters.

Othman met with Future TV journalist Rabih Chantaf, who was beaten and manhandled by police while covering protests against United States President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel last Sunday. Chantaf told the SKeyes center for media and cultural freedom that he was approached by an officer while covering the demonstration and ordered to stop filming. He reported that the officer didn’t give him time to respond before beating him. The beginning of the interaction was captured on film and shared by Future TV as well as SKeyes.

During the meeting Saturday, Othman said “the Internal Security Forces consider that the actions taken were purely on an individual basis and done by a very limited number of ISF members who were being attacked by some of the rioters.”

However, he warned that “any attack on elements of the Internal Security Forces by rioters during future demonstrations would be met with a firm response in accordance with the laws and regulations in force.”

The demonstration against Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel devolved into violent clashes near the American Embassy in Awkar, north of Beirut, last Sunday. According to Georges Kettaneh, secretary-general of the Lebanese Red Cross, about 57 people were treated for injuries in the field and eight were transported to nearby hospitals. The ISF said that 19 security members were wounded and one was taken to a hospital.

Six men stood trial Friday evening accused of assaulting ISF personnel by throwing stones during the demonstration.