Lebanese Source to Asharq Al-Awsat: Ziad Itani’s Release Not Linked to Political Considerations

Lebanese Source to Asharq Al-Awsat: Ziad Itani’s Release Not Linked to Political Considerations

Wednesday, 14 March, 2018 - 08:00
Lebanese actor and writer Ziad Itani after his release from detention on Tuesday. (AFP)
Beirut - Youssef Diab
Lebanese actor and writer Ziad Itani was released from custody on Tuesday after 112 days in detention where he was held on a false accusation of collaborating with Israel.

A judicial source told Asharq Al-Awsat that the decision to release Itani proved that justice protects all Lebanese citizens.

“The file was handled away from any political considerations and according to judicial data and new evidence made available to the Internal Security Forces Intelligence Bureau,” the source said.

He added that the judiciary completed its mission by adjusting the direction of the case to remove injustice against Itani.

The actor’s release coincided with the arrest of those accused of faking conversations between him and an alleged Israeli agent.

Itani was arrested in November by the State Security Directorate General on charges of collaborating and communicating with Israel. Evidence later emerged that he fell victim to a plot hatched by Suzan Hajj, the former head of the Lebanese Anti-Cybercrime and Intellectual Property Bureau.

A source close to the investigation earlier this month said Hajj was suspected of having framed Itani to seek revenge after he shed light on her liking a controversial post on Twitter last year, after which she was demoted.

On Tuesday, First Military Investigative Judge Riad Abu Ghida issued an arrest warrant against Hajj.

Itani was released after Abu Ghida concluded a three-hour interrogation of Hajj at the Military Tribunal, in the presence of her lawyer, Rashid Derbas.

Following the interrogation, Derbas said his client denied all accusations leveled against her, noting the lack of definitive evidence that condemns her.

Shortly upon his release, Itani praised President Michel Aoun, Prime Minister Saad Hariri, and Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq for pursuing his release.

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