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Lebanese gendarmerie interrogates student activists | Middle East News

Karim Safiddin, accused of throwing stones at soldiers, said that the man in military uniform and civilian attire would notify him to see his mother.

Beirut, Lebanon – The Lebanese military police interrogated the militant Karim Safieddine after being accused of throwing stones at soldiers during a student protest in December.

Safieddine told Al Jazeera on Monday that two men in military uniforms and plainclothes had issued a notice for him to appear in front of his mother on Saturday.

In December last year, angry students protested against the decision of the country’s top private universities to increase tuition during the economic crisis. In this economic crisis, the Lebanese pound depreciated by more than 85% and about half of the population fell into poverty.

At the entrance of the American University of Beirut, riot police clashed with students and fired tear gas at students who threw water bottles and other objects at them.

However, Safeddin denied these allegations. “My little sister and I are standing at the back of the crowd,” he said. “So I can’t do this kind of thing.”

The authorities did not call any other protesters.

Demonstrators gathered outside the Gendarmerie Camp of Prince Bashir of Beirut to express their support for the activist.

The Mada Network, a coalition of secular and anti-government students and youth activists, called his summons a “blatant attack on the right to assemble and organize protests.”

Critics condemn Lebanese leadership for targeting activists instead of fighting corruption and effective investigations Beirut Port Explosion In August 2020, more than 200 people were killed and at least 6,500 were injured.

Safieddine said a security official called him last week and asked him which student groups he was involved in.

Lebanese civilians can be tried in military courts, but human rights organizations say these trials often violate international law.

A 2017 Human Rights Watch report documented a series of cases of torture and interrogation in the absence of a lawyer.

Human rights groups called on the Lebanese authorities to stop trying civilians in military courts.

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