BEIRUT: A Lebanese social media activist serving a three-year prison sentence for “collaborating” with Israel, was granted bail on Tuesday, her lawyer told Arab News.
Kinda Al-Khatib, in her twenties, was arrested in June and charged with collaborating with “the enemy,” entering the occupied Palestinian territories and collaborating with Israeli spies.
Lebanon is technically still at war with Israel and forbids its citizens from traveling there.
Al-Khatib was sentenced to three years in prison in December.
Her lawyer Jocelyne Al-Rai told Arab News on Tuesday that Al-Khatib was granted bail and released after she had appealed the primary ruling against her client.
“The upcoming hearing will be held on April 8 before the Military Cassation Court. We have documents that prove my client’s innocence,” Al-Rai said.
The lawyer said that as part of her defence argument she would seek to acquit her client before Chief Judge Tani Lattouff.
Al-Khatib had pleaded innocent, said Al-Rai who expects the higher court to overturn the primary judgment and acquit her client of all charges.
“The military appeals court on Tuesday decided to release the activist Kinda Al-Khatib in exchange for a bail of three million Lebanese pounds,” ($1,990 officially, $200 at the market rate), a judicial source told AFP.
Since mass protests erupted in Lebanon in October 2019, several social media activists have been detained.
Al-Khatib’s family and activists denounced her arrest at the time as “political” and a reaction to her tweets against those in power.
Al-Khatib had used her Twitter account to criticize Hezbollah.
Lebanese media and activists drew a parallel between Khatib’s case and that of actor Ziad Itani, who was also accused of “collaborating” with Israel in 2017.
Itani was declared innocent and released several months later, and a high-ranking security officer was then charged with “fabricating” the case.