Today, Saadeddine Shatila, Alkarama's representative in Lebanon can return to his work assisting victims of human rights violations and lobbying for the authorities to respect their Human Rights obligations. Mr Shatila, who was being investigated by an investigative judge of the Military Court for "publishing information harmful to the image of the Lebanese military" in what was clearly an attempt to intimidate a human rights defender, was informed today that all investigations against him have been closed and that no charges will be brought against him.
In mid-February 2012, the first investigative judge of the Military Court, Riad Abou Ghida, issued a decision closing the investigation against Mr Shatila. This decision was confirmed last week by the Government Commissioner to the Military Court, Judge Saqr Saqr.
"Whilst welcoming the end of this investigation, we remain concerned at the fact that Mr Shatila is only one of many human rights defenders suffering harassment for their essential work" said Rachid Mesli, Director of Alkarama's Legal Department. The case against the Centre Libanais des Droits de l'Homme (CLDH), human rights activist Ali Akil Khalil, and pressure laid on the Palestinian Human Rights Organisation in recent years remain blatant examples of intimidation of individuals working to improve the human rights situation in Lebanon. Alkarama will continue to closely monitor the situation of human rights defenders in Lebanon, and will keep the UN human rights protection mechanisms informed of these situations.