BEIRUT — A senior Lebanese Syriac Maronite cleric’s detention and military court summons following a visit to his parish in Israel was denounced by members of the Sovereign Front for Lebanon.
Archbishop Moussa el-Hage was detained for more than ten hours at the Naqoura Border Crossing upon his return from Israel several days ago. He was subjected to lengthy and unnecessary questioning. The financial and medical aid he had in his possession for the needy of Lebanon was confiscated.
After ecclesiastical and supreme judicial interventions, he was released and met with the Syriac Maronite Patriarch Mor Bechara Boutros al-Rai.
President of the Universal Syriac Union Party (USUP) Ibrahim Mrad denounced the arrest:
“Attempts to insult Christians and Beth Kerke [Bkerke] through the Lebanese state institutions that are subordinate to the Iranian militia, including the arrest of Archbishop Mussa al-Hajj, will not discourage the Syriac Maronite Patriarch and all members of the Sovereign Front for Lebanon from demanding the removal of Iranian control from Lebanon.”
Head of Lebanese Forces Samir Geagea considered summoning the archbishop to the military court as a message to the Syriac Maronite Patriarch due to his patriotic stances:
“Judge Fadi Akiki proved that he is not present in the military court to achieve the truth or watch over security, but rather to achieve a specified goal, which was most evident in Al-Tayouneh events and other similar events.”
Patriarch al-Rai, in turn, called for an extraordinary meeting of the Synod of the Syriac Maronite Church Bishops.
The Synod issued a statement, in which it denounced the arbitrary arrest and attempts to undermine the Church and its role in Lebanon.
The Synod also demanded to stop what it described as “a security judicial political play” and that all necessary measures be taken by the Minister of Justice to hold the abusers accountable.
On Thursday, the Sovereign Front for Lebanon held a conference, in which it discussed what the archbishop was subjected to, the objectives of this scheme and those behind it.