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Lebanese activist released 'after being abducted, beaten' by military intelligence officers

Khaldoun Jaber was detained, beaten, and refused access to a lawyer [Twitter]

Date of publication: 14 November, 2019

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Lebanese activist Khaldoun Jaber was released on Thursday after being abducted by intelligence officers, who beat him up and refused him access to lawyers.
A Lebanese activist was freed on Thursday after being detained and held incommunicado by military intelligence since Wednesday evening.

Khaldoun Jaber was abducted by army intelligence officers in plain clothes during a protest march outside the presidential palace in Ba'abda, which took place in response to comments by Lebanese President Michel Aoun which outraged protesters.

He was leading protesters' chants against Aoun shortly before he was abducted. Witnesses said that he was beaten up by the intelligence officers.

For many hours Jaber's whereabouts were unknown. It was thought initially that he was at the Military Intelligence Prison in Rehaniye near Ba'abda but lawyers working for the protesters could not find him there or in several other prisons.

Public Prosecutor Ghassan Oweidat promised lawyers and activists that Jaber would be released soon when they met with him on Thursday and he was eventually released from the Hebeish police station, where he had been held.

Read more: The new patriotism in Lebanon and Iraq

Speaking to reporters, Jaber said that the protests against the government would continue. "The popular revolution will continue and will not stop for anyone," he said. 

He also told reporters that he wasn't told why he was detained and was not allowed to talk to a lawyer.

He said that he was beaten not only after his arrest but in custody as well. "They practiced psychological terror," he said.

He showed reporters wounds on his upper body.

Earlier on Thursday, Lebanese activists buried activist Alaa Abou Fakher, who died after being injured in clashes with soldiers south of Beirut. He has been called the "first martyr of the Lebanese revolution".

Protests in Lebanon were triggered by endemic corruption and patronage which has seen ministers and officials amass huge personal fortunes while public services have deteriorated.

President Aoun on Tuesday suggested that protesters could "go to the moon" if they were not happy with the situation in the country.

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