Rear View – Lebanon in review (14 November 2021)
08 November: First sexual harassment trial in Lebanon
The first sexual harassment trial since the behaviour was criminalised in Lebanon last December has begun. 7 women sued journalist and director Jaafar al-Attar for actions such as unwanted phone calls, messages, and sexual advances.
Before the new law, sexual harassment was not considered a crime in Lebanon, so the justice system could not intervene in such cases. Instead, victims had to sue their harassers for threats or defamation. The penalty of a successful conviction is imprisonment for 1 to 12 months and a fine of 675 Lira – more than ten times the minimum wage in Lebanon. Higher penalties apply if the harassment took place in a work setting, against a minor, or
against a person with special needs.
The law criminalises “any recurring bad behaviour that is out of the ordinary, unwelcome by the victim and has a sexual connotation.” It can be harassment through “words, actions or sexual or pornographic references.”
In 2017, a survey by UN Women showed that nearly 60% of women in Lebanon have experienced a form of sexual harassment.
09 November: Mikati promises 24/7 electricity in Lebanon
Lebanese Prime Minister Mikati has promised the government is working towards 24/7 electricity in Lebanon. The solution, he says, is support from neighbouring nations and international organisations.
PM Mikati announced this after meeting with representatives of energy
production agencies on November 8th. While fuel arriving from Iraq will provide a short-term solution of up to 15 hours of electricity per day, arrangements for gas and energy to be transported from Egypt and Jordan
via Syria will, Mikati claims, secure a long-term supply of electricity for Lebanon. He says that his promise will be kept as soon as “technical issues are solved.” Mikati also stated that negotiations with the International Monetary Fund are “on the right track” and that there is “full cooperation” with the World Bank as well. He revealed that the World Bank has also offered $295 million to support national public transport facilities and monthly cash assistance programs for families in need.
10 November: Lebanese citizens denied Kuwaiti visas
Kuwaiti daily newspaper Al-Qabas has reported the government’s suspension of Lebanese tourist visas. The move is a show of support by Kuwait for Saudi Arabia amidst the ongoing Lebanon-Gulf crisis.
Lebanese residents of Kuwait will not be affected by the new policy, only Lebanese tourists.
The Lebanon-Gulf crisis was sparked by comments made by the Lebanese Information Minister, George Kordahi, in support of the Houthi rebel group in Yemen, who are opposing the Saudi Arabia-backed government in the nation’s civil war. Since then, the Lebanese ambassador has been expelled from Saudi Arabia, and the Saudi government has stopped importing goods from Lebanon.
According to Saudi Arabia, the move is motivated by more than Kordahi’s stance: the influence of Hezbollah on Lebanese politics makes the Gulf nation hesitant to continue relations with Lebanon. Other Arab Gulf countries, including Bahrain, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates, have also boycotted Lebanon for the same reason
11 November: ISF Director-General refuses to arrest politician for Blast investigation
Director-General of the Internal Security Forces (ISF) Major General Imad Othman has refused to execute an arrest warrant against parliamentary member Ali Hassan Khalil in relation to the Beirut explosion investigation, claiming the warrant is unconstitutional. Othman stated that the arrest warrant violates Article 40 of the Lebanese Constitution, which forbids the arrest of a deputy while parliament is in session. Khalil is a deputy of the Amal Party.
Lebanese newspaper Al-Jadeed alleged that Othman himself has violated the Lebanese Constitution by interfering with the work of judicial authorities. A clarification request was sent through the Justice Council to the Attorney General to determine whether Othman’s claims are true and the warrant is unconstitutional.
11 November: Saudi Arabia to only grant humanitarian visas to Lebanese
Saudi Arabia has announced that the only visas Lebanese citizens will have access to in the country are humanitarian visas. This restriction is the latest development in the Lebanon-Gulf crisis. Earlier last week, Kuwait also announced a restriction on Lebanese travel in the country and suspended all Lebanese tourist visas. These measures show that the Lebanon-Gulf crisis shows no signs of abating anytime soon.
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