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Lebanese police summon man for photoshopping Rafic Hariri posters Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Lebanese police summon man for photoshopping Rafic Hariri posters

Hariri was killed when a massive explosion ripped through his motorcade in 2005 [Facebook]

Date of publication: 9 February, 2016

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Lebanese police have summoned photojournalist Ali Khalife for photoshopping ironic comments onto pictures of former prime minister Rafic Hariri and posting them on Facebook.
Lebanese police have summoned a photojournalist for questioning for creating satirical images of the country's former prime minister.

Police went to the home Ali Khalife, who works for the Lebanese Al Jadeed TV, on Monday to question him on charges of "defacing and spreading online images" of former prime minister Rafic Hariri, who was assassinated in 2005.

"I was on my way to work when I found out that the police had come to my house to arrest me. But I carried on with my day normally," Khalife told The New Arab.

"I made the pictures in photoshop. I haven't vandalised any public or private property," he added.

Khalife posted several photoshopped images on Facebook of commemorative posters of Hariri in Sidon - the slain politician's hometown - with satirical answers to the poster's caption: "How is Sidon?"

"Better off without you", "Buzz off already" and "Six months without getting my salary" were a few of Khalife and other Facebook users' responses.

Khalife's mother Souhayla said that police had arrived at their home in the town of al-Ghazieh, south of Sidon, with search warrants and combed the house for her son.

In response, many Lebanese have said that Khalife's arrest has infringed his right to freedom of speech.

Lebanon's long-time prime minister was killed when a massive explosion ripped through his motorcade in 2005. A Syrian connection to the assassination has long been suspected.

Syria maintained a nearly 30-year presence in Lebanon and only withdrew its troops after the assassination.

Last September, a Hague-based special court for Lebanon cleared Al Jadeed TV, Khalife's employer, of contempt for publishing details of witnesses in the trial of the alleged killers of Hariri.

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