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Conflict Incident Report

‘Jungle republic’: Activist charged for insulting leaders

Date of incident: 
March 21, 2017
Death toll: 
Number of Injured: 
Actors/Parties Involved: 
Lebanese Civilians
Internal Security Forces (ISF)

BEIRUT: Baabda Judge Pierre Francis issued an arrest warrant Monday against activist Ahmad Amhaz on charges of defamation and insulting high-ranking officials, a judicial source told The Daily Star.

In a February Facebook post, Amhaz criticized President Michel Aoun, Speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Saad Hariri. “There are three animals currently ruling the country: A crocodile ... a donkey ... and one that hasn’t been revealed yet,” the post read, accompanied by the hashtag #republicofthejungle.

Amhaz was detained March 21, after police received a tip about the post. He was transferred to the Internal Security Force’s Cybercrimes Bureau for questioning, and referred to the judiciary to stand trial.

The activist’s lawyer, Wassef al-Harakeh, moved to appeal Francis’ decision. Amhaz had not intended to insult specific people, Harakeh said, and was having personal problems at the time of the post. “I didn’t know that this was a criminal act because there’s freedom of expression,” the accused said, according to his lawyer. Harakeh said that he would file a release request Tuesday.

Human Rights Watch described Amhaz’s arrest as “incompatible with Lebanon’s human rights obligations,” in a statement Monday. “Arresting someone for criticizing leading politicians serves no legitimate purpose but does undermine free speech in Lebanon,” HRW’s Deputy Middle East Director Lama Fakih said.


This security incident was mapped according to the closest possible location.
Primary category: 
Classification of conflict (primary): 
Power & governance conflicts
Violent or non-violent conflicts associated with antagonisms related to internal political tensions between local and/or national groups and parties. These tensions may be encouraged by internal, regional and international parties. Such conflicts are characterized by their defiance and/or opposition to central State power and governance.