Lebanon court orders six-month jail term for journalist

Hanin Ghaddar, a researcher known for her criticism of the powerful Hezbollah movement, was sentenced in absentia. (YouTube/Washington Institute)
Updated 18 January 2018
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Lebanon court orders six-month jail term for journalist

BEIRUT: A Lebanese military court handed down a six-month prison sentence to a journalist for presenting views critical of the army, a court official told AFP said Thursday.
Hanin Ghaddar, also a researcher known for her criticism of the powerful Hezbollah movement, was sentenced in absentia on Jan. 10 over an expose at a conference in the US, the source said.
Her sentence sparked outrage among fellow journalists and academics in Lebanon, where they said free speech and freedom of the press were once again being challenged.
The court official said the ruling found Ghaddar, a US resident, guilty of “defaming the Lebanese army, harming its reputation and accusing it of distinguishing between Lebanese citizens.”
During a conference session in Washington in 2014, a recording of which is available online, she described the situation in Lebanon as “Sunnis being clamped down by Hezbollah and the Lebanese army versus Hezbollah militia being the untouchables.”
Hezbollah is a Shiite organization backed by Iran which is represented in the Lebanese government and has a militia often considered more powerful than the national army itself.
The military courts in Lebanon have a very broad jurisdiction over civilians and rights groups have voiced concern that could be used as a tool for intimidation against free speech and activism.
— AFP


Iraq restarts small Kirkuk oil exports after a year of suspension

Updated 7 min 56 sec ago
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Iraq restarts small Kirkuk oil exports after a year of suspension

  • The flows resumed on Friday at a modest level of around 50,000-60,000 barrels per day

LONDON: Iraq has restarted exports of Kirkuk oil, interrupted more than a year ago amid a standoff between the central government in Baghdad and Kurdistan’s semi-autonomous region, industry sources said on Friday.
The development is a win for the US government which has been putting pressure on both sides to settle the dispute and resume flows to help address a shortage of Iranian crude in the region after Washington imposed new sanctions on Tehran.
The flows resumed on Friday at a modest level of around 50,000-60,000 barrels per day versus peak levels of 300,000 observed during some months of 2017 and it was not clear when and by how much they will rise, sources said.