December 10, 2023

A military prosecutor in Lebanon has issued a warrant against Lebanese journalist Layal Alekhtiar after she conducted an interview with the IDF spokesperson for Arabic media, Avichay Adraee, on al-Arabiya last month, Alekhtiar said on Thursday night. Alekhtiar wrote on X (formerly Twitter) that people “affiliated with Hezbollah, under disguised names” had filed a complaint against her after the interview. “This step is blatant political persecution, in the style of judicial repression. It has nothing to do with right, truth, and justice,” wrote the journalist. “Those behind it are inflicting moral, national, and human disgrace on themselves. They are the ones who plundered the state, bankrupted the people, and gave up the nation’s sovereignty and wealth and here they are covering up their crimes with fabrications to suppress freedoms.” “I am not afraid because I am Lebanese from now until the Day of Resurrection and Arab from now until my last breath. You will not touch my freedom, my dignity, or my convictions, no matter what you do.” Last month, a campaign of harassment and threats targeted Alekhtiar after she conducted an interview with Adraee. “I conducted the interview respectfully, asked all the necessary questions, and I ended the interview, that’s it, nothing more. I didn’t praise him, but I didn’t insult him either,” Alekhtiar told Arab News at the time. “A respectable journalist will respect their guest, no matter who it may be, even if it’s someone from the opposition.” A group of journalists, including Syrian News Channel’s Hussein Mortada, filed a lawsuit against Alekhtiar, claiming she violated Lebanese laws banning contact with enemy officials, according to Arab News. The lawsuit referred to Al-Arabiya as “the Hebrew channel” and to Alekhtiar as a “Zionist…who claims to be a journalist.” Alekhtiar advised not to return to Lebanon In light of the threats, Alekhtiar has remained in Dubai and has not returned to Lebanon. “Currently I can’t go to Beirut, journalists and politicians have advised me not to go to Lebanon because I will be arrested,” she told Arab News in October. Additional Lebanese journalists who have expressed opinions against Hezbollah have also been threated in recent weeks. Alekhtiar stressed in a recent statement to the Annahar newspaper that “Everything we do is our professional duty, while the other (a reference to Hezbollah) normalized relations with the enemy and sold kilometers to the enemy, and even signed it to the United Nations.” The journalist described the threats as “attempted murder,” warning that “the resistance crowd is held accountable for everything it might be exposed to in the coming days.”