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Asharq Al-Awsat
Asharq Al-Awsat
Beirut - Asharq Al-Awsat

Rahi Refuses Turning Lebanon into a Dictatorship

Lebanese Patriarch Bechara Rahi (NNA)

Lebanese Patriarch Bechara Rahi warned on Sunday from attempts to turn Lebanon into a “police state and dictatorship.”

Rahi accused the authority of imposing selective and biased judiciary measures and of fabricating charges to postpone or annul the parliamentary elections scheduled next May.

Rahi said those in charge in Lebanon continue to oppress the people.

“Until when will officials and political figures continue to subjugate our people, and prevent them from expressing their opinions and from complaining about the situation,” the Patriarch said during his Sunday speech in Bkirki.

He said people have an innate right to express their opinion. He warned against attempts to suppress this right, and of turning the county into a police state. “These repressive measures do not resemble Lebanon,” he said.

Rahi then highlighted the “saddening and dangerous” state of Lebanon’s judiciary.

He said it was time for the “selective, retaliatory and politicized” judiciary to end, and for the truth behind the deadly explosions of the port of Beirut to unravel.

“Where are the judges who are supposed to protect the judiciary?” he asked.

The Patriarch also decried attempts to undermine the main institutions including Lebanese banks, the seizure of depositors' funds, and the harm inflicted on the country’s economy.

“Is the objective of these firm measures to torpedo the legislative elections or to prevent them from being held on the scheduled dates?” he asked.

Rahi insisted that the parliamentary elections should take place on May 15 followed by presidential elections before the end of this year.

“The next president of the republic should remove Lebanon from the (Syrian-Iranian) axes to neutrality,” he said.

Last week, Judge Ghada Aoun filed a lawsuit against prominent talk show host Marcel Ghanem and MTV Lebanon for alleged "libel and slander" against her persona.

In his Thursday episode of “Sar el-Wa’et,” Ghanem spoke of how Lebanon, especially with the elections approaching, is currently being controlled by a corrupted political class led by Hezbollah, describing Judge Ghada Aoun of taking biased actions against banks.

Judge Aoun, who is close to President Michel Aoun and his political team, had filed charges against Central Bank chief Riad Salameh, as well as his brother, on charges of illegal enrichment and money laundering over the past few years, during Lebanon’s economic meltdown. Their assets have been frozen under an order from a judge.

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