BEIRUT: A group of human rights organizations said Wednesday that the charges against human rights activist Saadeddine Shatila are a serious breach of international human rights standards and a threat to the role of human rights defenders.
After being released Monday, Shatila was questioned by Military Judge Saqr Saqr Tuesday on charges of defamation by publishing information harming the reputation of the Lebanese Army and circulating false information.
“It is an infringement on the freedom of expression and opinion guaranteed by the constitution and international conventions, including the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights which Lebanon ratified in 1972,” said a statement released by a consortium of human rights organizations.
The statement was released by the Lebanese Center for Human Rights, Act for Human Rights, Al Karama, Restart Center and the Palestinian Human Rights Organization.
“The signatories call on the Lebanese government to abolish the penal provisions that criminalize freedom of expression and to take responsibility in protecting human rights defenders against threats, revenge, pursuit or de facto or de jure discrimination,” the statement added.
Shatila was summoned for interrogation after participating in the reporting of human rights violations in the country.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 28, 2011, on page 3.