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Conflict Incident Report

Poet arrested for 'insulting Virgin Mary' on Facebook

Date of incident: 
November 27, 2017
Death toll: 
Number of Injured: 
Actors/Parties Involved: 
ISF Intelligence Branch
Lebanese Civilians
The Internal Security Forces’ Intelligence Unit arrested a 65-year-old man Monday for allegedly posting comments on social media that insulted the Virgin Mary.
Lebanese poet Ahmad Sbeity was identified as the author of the posts, according to an interview with his daughter Lorca Sbeity published by An-Nahar newspaper. However she claimed that his account may have been hacked given that “he had a long history of literary and poetic works, and wouldn’t reduce himself to this level of speech."
Sbeity, an author of more than 10 books, was arrested in Kfar Sir in south Lebanon over a Facebook post published under “the fake identity” of Mustafa Sbeity.
According to reports, under Article 473 of the penal code, a person suspected of blasphemy faces up to a year in prison if found guilty.
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Classification of conflict (primary): 
Individual acts of violence
Violent incidents which do not have a specific or a known political agenda but are caused by the general proliferation of weapons, of trained and untrained soldiers or militants, by the general inefficiency of the Justice system, and past-traditions and histories of violence within society.