BEIRUT: Former General Security head Jamil al-Sayyed’s lawyer has filed a lawsuit against a French journalist for writing an article that he said contained “fabrications and slander and libel” about him, a statement said Tuesday.
French newspaper Le Figaro reported Monday that the Marshall Islands had nominated Sayyed to become their envoy to UNESCO, adding that “thanks to the diplomatic immunity that would be available to him, the former spymaster would avoid possible prosecution by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.”
But Sayyed accused the reporter behind the article of lying.
“Maj. Gen. Jamil al-Sayyed’s lawyer Akram Azouri has filed a penal lawsuit to the Lebanese judiciary against French journalist Georges Malbrunot for publishing an article in Le Figaro on Feb. 10 which contains offensive and invective fabrications against General Sayyed,” a statement released by the general’s office said.
The statement also noted that Malbrunot had been kidnapped in Iraq in 2004 by the Islamic Army and had later visited Sayyed to thank him for his efforts in securing his release that year in cooperation with French Gen. Philippe Rondot.
Sayyed was arrested following the death of Hariri and 22 other people in a bomb attack in Downtown Beirut on Feb. 14, 2005, which was initially blamed on pro-Syrian Lebanese generals.
Sayeed was detained for four years, but he was released in 2009 after the U.N. said there was not sufficient evidence to hold him.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on February 12, 2014, on page 4.