Lebanese Political Activist Detained and Accused of Dealing With Israel

According to local media reports, El-Khatib visited Israel by crossing from Jordan; court says she dealt with 'spies of the Israeli enemy'

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File photo: Lebanese police wear face masks as they walk together during a protest in Beirut, Lebanon April 23, 2020.
File photo: Lebanese police wear face masks as they walk together during a protest in Beirut, Lebanon April 23, 2020. Credit: MOHAMED AZAKIR/ REUTERS

A Lebanese political activist who was detained last week was charged on Monday with collaborating with Israel and referred to a military prosecutor, Lebanon's state-run news agency reported.

The National News Agency said Government Commissioner to the Military Court Judge Fadi Akiki charged Kinda El-Khatib with visiting Israel and “dealing with spies of the Israeli enemy.” The report added that the judge referred El-Khatib to a military investigative judge for questioning. The military judge is expected to issue a formal arrest warrant.

Lebanon and Israel are in a state of war and each bans its citizens from visiting the other country.

El-Khatib was detained last week with her brother, who was later released. According to local media reports, she had visited Israel by crossing from Jordan.

She has been active on social media, where she harshly criticized Lebanon's militant Hezbollah group and its strong ally, Lebanese President Michel Aoun. Hezbollah and Israel fought a month-long war in 2006.

Shortly before the charges were filed Monday, dozens rallied in Beirut demanding El-Khatib's release and saying that she was innocent.

The protesters say El-Khatib's case is similar to that of Ziad Itani, a Lebanese stage actor who was released in 2018 after being cleared of charges of collaborating with Israel. Itani spent about four months in prison.

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