Human Rights Watch

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Lebanon: Defamation Laws Used to Silence Critics

Thousands Investigated for Defamation after Previous Protests

Friday 15 November 2019


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(Beirut, November 15, 2019) – Lebanese authorities have been increasing their reliance on insult and defamation laws to silence journalists, activists, and others critical of government policies and corruption, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.

The 122-page report, “‘There is a Price to Pay’: The Criminalization of Peaceful Speech in Lebanon,” finds that powerful political and religious figures have increasingly used the country’s criminal insult and defamation laws against people leveling accusations of corruption and reporting on the country’s worsening economic and political situation. Convictions under these laws can lead to prison terms of up to three years. Parliament should urgently repeal the laws that criminalize speech, some of which date from Ottoman and French Mandate periods.

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