BEIRUT: A Beirut court issued an arrest warrant Wednesday for a Lebanese journalist accused of "inciting murder" against Israeli collaborators on social media.
Beirut Investigative Judge Farid Ajib issued the warrant against Al-Akhbar journalist Hasan Illaik, accused of posting a status on his Facebook account calling for the “punishment” of Israeli agents.
The post reportedly prompted ex-Lebanon army officer Fayez Karam to file a complaint.
Karam was arrested in August 2010, and found guilty in September 2011 of contacting Israeli intelligence and providing them with information on Hezbollah and its ally, the Free Patriotic Movement.
At the time, Karam was a high ranking member of the FPM, which later disowned him over the scandal.
He was released from prison in April 2012.
A judicial source told The Daily Star that Judge Ajib had summoned Illaik several times, and eventually issued the arrest warrant after the journalist failed to show up for questioning.
But speaking to Al-Jadeed TV, Illaik said he was surprised to learn of the warrant, adding that he was not officially informed of it, nor did he know its content.
“Today I found out that an arrest warrant in absentia was issued against me in a lawsuit filed by an agent of the enemy (Israel), accusing me of inciting murder,” Illaik said in a post on Facebook Wednesday, in reference to Karam.
On its website, Al-Akhbar said that Karam had filed a lawsuit against the paper about a year and a half ago over an article published about him which discussed his release from prison and his attempts to mend ties with the FPM and regain their trust.
It added that Illaik had posted something on his Facebook account calling for the “punishment” of agents without naming anyone, adding that Karam considered the post to be in reference to him.