'Was He Abducted by Hezbollah?' Missing Lebanese Journalist Bizarrely Appears in Protest Calling for His Freedom

Published December 22nd, 2020 - 07:30 GMT
'Was He Abducted by Hezbollah?' Missing Lebanese Journalist Bizarrely Appears in Protest Calling for His Freedom
His surprising appearance and unusual excuse which he repeated later during a live Facebook video sparked many online memes. (Al Bawaba)

About a month after he wrote a trending investigation into Hezbollah's warehouses, where Ammonium Nitrate have been stored, family and friends of a Lebanese journalist reported that he had been missing for a few days. Thus causing social media activists to start a hashtag with his name, calling for his freedom, after fearing that he has been abducted by Hezbollah. However, he showed up to the same protest that was organized in solidarity with him, stirring many controversial questions over what had happened to him.

The absence of Rabih Tlais, a Lebanese journalist, who belongs to the same social and religious background as that of Hezbollah, was feared to be abducted by the strong militant group after his investigation into the militia's warehouses storing the same chemical component that caused the devastating Beirut blast last August, in which he refuted Hezbollah's repeated claims of not posing any threats to Lebanese lives.

Tlais is known for his vocal critic of Hezbollah and Iranian-backed politicians in Lebanon and had previously expressed his concern over his own safety to his family and friends.

As soon as Lebanese journalists and online activists learned that Tlais was missing a few days ago, they assumed that he has been kidnapped by Hezbollah and called for a protest near the Palais de Justice in Beirut to pressure whoever is hiding him to set him free.

Yet, Tlais bizarrely showed up during the protest shocking everyone, before saying that he "was hiding for a few days to unwind and chose to not use social media."

His surprising appearance and unusual excuse, which he repeated later during a live Facebook video, sparked many online memes amid a sense of anger amongst social media users, as some of them accused him of orchestrating a media stunt, while others expressed their fear that he might have been conditionally released on the basis that he makes up an excuse that doesn't involve Hezbollah.

Meanwhile, Lebanese social media continues to highlight raising concerns of a wave of violence against voices that are calling for thorough investigations into the Beirut port blast that killed more than 100 people last August and destroyed several neighborhoods in the capital city.

Yesterday, local media reported the killing of an ex-army photographer, who was gunned down using a silenced pistol outside of his home near Kahaleh in Aley. Reports are pointing at the possibility that Joseph Bejjani was recently working on a filming project near the still-damaged Beirut port.

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