Days after her disappearance, online political activist Kinda Al-Khatib was found as she was arrested by Lebanese military forces and appeared in a military court with charges related to "collaborating with Israel."
Protest outside Beirut's Military Court asking for the freedom of activist Kinda Al Khatib, who is accused of collaboration with #Israel- the worst crime in #Lebanon.— Sunniva Rose (@Sunniva_Rose) June 22, 2020
Her family, who came from Akkar, says she was targeted bcos she criticized the gov. on Twitter.#كيندا_الخطيب pic.twitter.com/DvKPq2bpz9
Al-Khatib, who is known for publicly opposing the Lebanese government and the role played by the Iranian-backed Hezbollah in the country, was arrested based on a recent visit she took with her brother to Jordan, a country that shares accessible borders with Israel. Official charges claim that "Kinda and her brother had made a visit to Israel through Jordan."
Yet, social media activists rejected claims that the 23-year-old Master's student has any ties with Israel, arguing that her arrest is "an arbitrary one that came in revenge following her harsh criticism of Hezbollah."
There are thousands who criticize the government on Twitter and other Social Media platforms. Why she's the only one accused of treason? They have evidence on her. If not she'll be released. We are not living in a dictatorship system.#كيندا_الخطيب_عميلة— Mariana (@MannaSanfoura) June 22, 2020
In Beruit, Al-Khatib's family and friends took to the streets demanding her release and condemning what they described as "authorities' involvement in political rivalries," especially after her brother, Bandar, was released, which "points at an intention to solely target Kinda."
Talking to the press during the family's protest, Bandar stressed that he and his sister never left the Jordanian capital Amman, during their last visit to the country, which can be proved by communicating with the Jordanian authorities.
Pro-Hezbollah Twitter users used the chance to denounce Kinda, who they called a "traitor," saying that she "deserves the arrest after her non-stop attack at the political militant party."
I got to know Kinda al Khatib on Twitter for her brave posts. Kinda had no fear she was a brave girl and knew her haters very well. She writes what most people think but are scared to write for personal retribution! #كيندا_الخطيب https://t.co/HvGHB8HwqS— samara (@Skazzi) June 20, 2020
Online people also remembered a 2017 arrest of well-known actor Ziad Itani due to similar Israel-related charges, after an online comment criticizing a prominent security officer with ties to Hezbollah. Social media users argued that "Hezbollah uses accusations of spying to Israel to get rid of critics."
Itani was released several months later after all charges against him were dropped.
Translation: "Sounds like we're watching a film similar to that of Ziad Itani; Similar script."
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