Lebanon News

Court reduces journalist's prison sentence

This undated file photo shows Rami Aysha. (The Daily Star/HO)

BEIRUT: Journalist Rami Aysha was re-sentenced to two weeks in prison following an initial in absentia six-month sentence, a judicial source told The Daily Star Monday.

A military court reduced the prescribed jail time after Aysha returned to Lebanese soil on Sunday night.

In light of the fact that Aysha was imprisoned for more than two weeks after his arrest in August 2012, he should be immediately released, the source explained.

Aysha, who was abducted by armed men and then arrested while reporting a story about illicit arms trafficking between Lebanon and Syria, claims he was tortured while in jail.

Reporters Without Borders (RWB) said last week Aysha was arrested on Aug. 27, 2012 when he was reporting on a story on arms trafficking between Lebanon and Syria.

According to a letter written this week by the Australian Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance on Aysha’s behalf, the investigative piece was related to “weapons importation by Hezbollah.”

RWB claimed that Aysha was "kidnapped" by a group of men in Beirut’s southern suburbs and then referred to the Lebanese Military Intelligence services, and later to the military police.

After more than two weeks in various detention centers, Aysha, who was charged with purchasing firearms, was freed on bail in September 2012.

Hezbollah-affiliated Al-Manar has said Aysha was traveling in Beirut accompanied by his brother-in-law Maj. Wissam Abdel-Khaleq who the television station said had been previously arrested for smuggling arms to Syrian rebels.

Aysha's case was presented before a military court on Nov. 25 of this year where Aysha was sentenced in absentia to six months in prison.





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