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SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom - Samir Kassir Foundation

Itani called in for ISF questioning over tweet

Tuesday , 05 February 2019

Actor Ziad Itani has been called in for questioning Tuesday [February 5, 2019] at the Internal Security Forces’ Anti-Cybercrime Bureau, a judicial source told The Daily Star Monday.

The Beirut Public Prosecution referred Itani to the ISF bureau after a formal complaint was filed by lawyer Ziad Hobeiche, husband of disgraced ISF official Suzanne Hajj Hobeiche, the source said.

The complaint was based on comments Itani made on Twitter, which Hobeiche alleged constituted personal attacks against his person and his family.

In September 2018, Itani had published a tweet accusing Hobeiche of being the lawyer involved in a case related to illegal contact with Israel and asked, “Who served the [Israeli] enemy?”

Judicial NGO Legal Agenda announced Monday that it would hold a demonstration in solidarity with Itani in front of the ISF bureau Tuesday morning, in coordination with the Samir Kassir Foundation’s Center for Media and Cultural Freedom and digital advocacy organization Smex.

Hajj Hobeiche is currently under investigation with her alleged accomplice Elie Ghabash for attempting to frame Itani as an Israeli spy.

Hajj Hobeiche had allegedly asked hacker Ghabash to help her frame Itani, after the actor reportedly shared screenshots on social media showing she had liked a controversial tweet, in which TV comedy producer Charbel Khalil commented on a Saudi decree granting women the right to drive.

Though Hajj Hobeiche quickly “unliked” the post, a screenshot was shared widely online, which reportedly led the ISF to ask her to step down from her role in October 2017. Itani was jailed for over 100 days because of the fabricated spying charges, and was released in March 2018.

Hajj Hobeiche and Ghabash are due to take to the stand to testify on Feb. 7.

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