September 28. 2023. 5:52

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A study on the repression of political dissent in Lebanon: The Omar Harfouch case

The report stated that on 29 March, Harfouch attended a conference in the European Parliament on the topic of "fighting terrorism," where he spoke briefly for about three minutes about the issue of corruption in Lebanon. In the days that followed, he was violently attacked in Beirut by some media, Hezbollah, and the Lebanese authorities, who accused him of "contacting an enemy state" (Israel).

The daily newspaper Al-Akhbar, which is reputed to be close to Hezbollah, was particularly fierce against it. Then the military justice system opened proceedings against Omar Harfouch on charges of "treason", and later an arrest warrant was issued for him, ordered directly by the Prime Minister of Lebanon. Since then, Omar Harfouch has been the target of a veritable campaign of hate and slander.

The report pointed out that after Harfouch succeeded in exposing several corruption files, including those of Prime Minister Najib Mikati, the latter had a reason to be angry with Harfouch, who handed over documents to the Monaco judiciary condemning Mikati, who became prosecuted for money laundering. The same applies to the governor of the Central Bank of Lebanon, who was charged with money laundering by European countries.

Also, tens of millions of dollars were frozen for Banque Richelieu in Monaco, which is a subsidiary of Société Générale Bank headed by Anton Sehnaoui, who in turn wants revenge on Harfouch. Since then, the investigation has accelerated, and France, Germany, and Luxembourg have confiscated 120 million euros belonging to Salameh.

And last March, the Lebanese banker Marawan Khaireddine was arrested, and finally, Sehnawi himself is suspected of being involved in corruption cases, and it is said that he is behind a smear campaign in France and Lebanon aimed at discrediting Harfouch. Therefore, he is "the man to be killed."

The report considered that Harfouch’s mandate of arrest was simply the logical result of this political vendetta launched by his opponents. It should be noted that this accusation of "links with Israel" is a second attempt to use the same argument to silence Harfouch. As we will see below in discussing another case, these facts were largely prohibited (the statute of limitations is ten years, and this supposed "contact" took place 18 years before the complaint was filed, i.e., in other words, it is out of date).


That the case is admissible, and who decided to refer Harfouch to the military courts on charges of treason and disclosure of state secrets? The report indicated that Public Prosecutor Ghassan Oweidat decided to refer Harfouch’s file despite the passage of time, which was submitted by some of Mikati’s lawyers regarding Harfouch’s presence on a trip that included an Israeli journalist in 2004, to the military court.

Today, this phenomenon has been repeated with a new judge, the investigating judge in the north, Samaranda Nassar, affiliated with the Free Patriotic Movement and an ally of Hezbollah, who issued an arrest warrant for Harfouch based on Mikati’s complaint without listening to Harfouch or even informing him in accordance with legal principles.

Here is the complete dossier of the Security and Intelligence European Center.

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