BEIRUT: An international media watchdog Tuesday urged a Lebanese military court to withdraw all charges against journalist Rami Aysha, who faces a court-martial.
“We call not only for this military court to declare itself incompetent to try him but also for the withdrawal of all the charges,” Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) head Christophe Deloire said in a statement.
Aysha works for several international news organizations including Time Magazine and Spiegel Online. He was arrested in Beirut’s southern suburbs on Aug. 30 while researching a story on arms trafficking, and was released on bail in late September.
He is due to be tried in a military court Wednesday.
“Aysha is a journalist, not a dealer or purchaser of firearms,” RSF said.
During his nearly monthlong detention, he was tortured by the security services, RSF said in October.
Aysha had told RSF that during his detention he was severely beaten repeatedly while handcuffed, causing bruises and broken ribs. He said he was also deprived of food and sleep, while his family was subjected to threats, with his brother being told he shouldn’t make a fuss about what had happened.
The watchdog said Tuesday the authorities must account for his arrest and mistreatment. “The abusive behavior of the police, the police intelligence service and the military police must be investigated and those responsible must be punished,” RSF added.