Protesters hold banners outside Beirut's Military Tribunal, Monday, Jan. 30, 2017. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
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Fourteen civilians and one soldier appeared before Beirut's Military Tribunal Monday morning on charges connected to You Stink movement protests against the government's handling of the 2015-16 trash crisis.Thirteen were present in court Monday, with two standing trial in absentia.The You Stink movement, which was the driving force behind the 2015 protests, reacted swiftly to Monday's hearing.Saadedine Shatila, head of the Lebanese branch of the human rights group Alkarama Foundation, added that the military court trial of You Stink protesters was a major breach of the freedom of speech.Meanwhile, the deputy director of Human Rights Watch's Middle East and North Africa Division, Lama Fakih, condemned such trials of civilians, citing past incidents in which defendants and even minors were stripped of their civil rights in the military court system. Fakih was also one of few civil society members granted access to attend Monday's hearing. Military court sessions are largely closed to all but a few with special access.
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