Target: Alice Chabtini, Lebanon’s Minister of Justice
Goal: Drop charges against and release an activist who spoke out against the government of Lebanon on Facebook.
A political activist in Lebanon was arrested for speaking out against the country’s president, prime minister, and parliament. Ahmad Amhaz faces up to two years in jail for simply displaying his freedom of speech and expression.
By arresting Amhaz, Lebanon is compromising its obligation to uphold human rights. His arrest represents an ongoing struggle in Lebanon between the government and their critics — particularly journalists and bloggers. Defamation of public figures is criminalized under Lebanese law, which has led to a chilling effect on freedom of speech. However, those found guilty of defamation are typically fined rather than arrested, which makes Amhaz’s treatment all the more disturbing.
Arresting Amhaz for being critical of Lebanon’s government exposes a major flaw in Lebanon’s limitations on freedom of speech and freedom of press. Sign the petition and demand that Amhaz be released, his charges dropped, and freedom of expression protected.
Dear Minister Chabtini,
Ahmad Amhaz was just arrested in your country for speaking out against its political leaders on Facebook. This arrest reflects Lebanon’s dangerous limitations on freedom of expression, which threaten the country’s democracy as a whole.
Amhaz’s words didn’t hurt anybody, but the government’s reaction is hurting any chance Lebanon has at being a free society. Opposition fosters debate and discussion that a country needs to move forward. I ask that Amhaz be released from prison. Freedom of speech and expression must be protected in Lebanon.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Houssein Ben-Ameur