3 men arrested for slandering Suleiman freed on bail


The three Lebanese men that were arrested for slandering President Michel Suleiman on the social networking website Facebook were released on bail on Friday.

Military Investigative Judge Ghassan Owaidat released Naim Hanna, 27, Antoine Ramia, 29, and Shebel Qasab, 27 on a LL100,000 bail each ($66).

The 3 men were arrested on Monday after authorities interrogated them on charges of libel, slander and defamation against the president on Facebook.

The three men will be tried later in Beirut by the relevant judge.

The justice ministry had said the case met the requirements for a slander and defamation lawsuit, adding media freedom in Lebanon and any civilized country reaches its limits when the content is pure slander and aims at undermining the head of state.

The arrest of the 3 men caused an outrage in Lebanon. Many attributed the arrests to increased Syrian influence. One of Ya Libnan readers wrote: “I guess this is one of the 15 agreements signed with Syria last week.” Other readers wrote the arrests “violate the constitution which protects the freedom of speech”. Many politicians criticized the arrests and called for the immediate release of the 3 men.