BEIRUT — Amnesty International has urged the Lebanese government to immediately stop using terrorism-related charges to prosecute protesters, stressing that the ongoing crackdown on activists and protesters is taking an alarming turn.
Amnesty called on Lebanese authorities to immediately stop the practice of summoning civilians to appear before military courts to face terrorism-related charges brought by Lebanon’s military prosecutor. So far, about 23 protesters, including minors who participated in the Tripoli protests in the north of the country last February, have been charged in such a way.
Deputy Director of Amnesty’s Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa Lynn Maalouf said the repressive and disproportionate use of terrorism-related charges to prosecute protesters was an attempt by the government to sow fear among the protesters and deter further demonstrations.
However, the government’s attempts quell the protesters have had little effect. Dozens of protesters blocked several roads around Beirut and highways leading to Tripoli in the north and Beqaa to the east with tires and parked cars.