The head of the General Confederation of Lebanese Workers Bechara Asmar speaks in Beirut, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019. (The Daily Star/Mohamad Azakir)
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The detention of labor union leader Bechara Asmar over comments referencing the late Maronite patriarch has reignited the debate over freedom of expression, with public figures calling for Asmar's resignation and trial while rights organizations condemned the perceived attack on free speech.Asmar was detained Saturday after being questioned by acting Public Prosecutor Judge Imad Qabalan.Qabalan has opened a probe into Asmar and the five other individuals in the video who appeared to be laughing at his comments.A judicial source said Sunday that Asmar remained in detention while the five others were questioned and released. Asmar will be transferred Monday to the appeals court, the source said. However, the judicial source said Asmar was detained because his remarks insulted Sfeir, a prominent religious figure.Qabalan declined to say which legal articles Asmar's detention was based on.
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