LONDON: Judge Rosine Hujaili, counselor at the Court of Appeal in Beirut, issued on Tuesday a ruling sentencing journalist Dima Sadek to one year of imprisonment in a lawsuit filed against her by the Free Patriotic Movement accusing her of libel, inciting sectarian strife and slander.
The verdict also requires the Lebanese journalist to pay a fine of 110 million Lebanese pounds ($7,316) to the claimants, Sadek said in a video she shared on Twitter.
جبران باسيل انتزع قرار قضائي بسجني سنة دون ايقافالتنفيذ من محكمة الجزاء من خلال القاضية روزين حجيلي في سابقة استثنائية. نعم، في لبنان صارو الصحافيين بيبسجنو بدعاوى القدحوالذم. طبعا سأستأنف و النضال مكفي. pic.twitter.com/93tXpabQke
— Dima ديما صادق (@DimaSadek) July 11, 2023
The FPM, led by Gebran Bassil, sued Sadek in 2020 over tweets in which she accused the party of Nazism after a young man, Zakariya Al-Masri, was attacked by the party’s supporters under Fouad Chehab Bridge in Jounieh, north of Beirut.
Sadiq said in the tweet she would file an appeal against the ruling.
“In an unprecedented move, Gebran Bassil extracted a ruling from the Criminal Court through Judge Rosine Hujaili to imprison me for a year without a stay of execution,” she wrote, captioning a video.
“Yes, in Lebanon, journalists now can be imprisoned on charges of libel and defamation. Of course, I will appeal and persevere.”
Bassil’s lawyer Majed Boueiz said in a tweet: “What you speak is not the truth, but we have kept our promise. You slandered the movement’s youth, so we promised to prosecute you.
“The judiciary today is doing us justice and convicting you of the crimes of defamation and provoking sectarian strife, imprisoning you for a year, stripping you of some of your civil rights, and fining you 110 million Lebanese pounds for the damages cause to the Free Patriotic Movement.”
كلامك غير صادق ،انما وعدناصادق
افتريتي بحق شباب التيار ، فوعدنا بملاحقتك ها هو القضاء اليوم ينصفنا ويدينك بجرائم القدح والذم وإثارة النعراتالطائفية،ويحبسك سنة ويجردك من بعض حقوقك المدنية ويلزمك بمئة وعشرة ملايين كعطل وضرر لصالح التيار الوطني الحر
إنشاللهتكوني تعلمتي pic.twitter.com/bJwJDMt9je
— Majed Boueiz (@boueiz) July 11, 2023
On Feb. 6 and 7, 2020, FPM supporters assaulted in Jounieh two young men hailing from Tripoli, Al-Masri and Walid Raad, for demonstrating outside the Fouad Chehab Stadium.
In video footage capturing the assault, the FPM supporters told the young men they had had no business being in Keserwan given that they are from Tripoli.
The Publications Court in Lebanon prohibits the imprisonment of members of the press, but the FPM filed their lawsuit against Sadek with the Criminal Court, claiming her content was not published in a printed medium but rather on social media, which was not part of her work as a journalist.