Lebanon: singer detained for defamation

Lebanese musician Zeid Hamdan was briefly held at the prison of the Palace of Justice in Beirut on Wednesday for defaming President Michel Suleiman, urging him in a song posted on YouTube last year to “go home.” A statement posted on Hamdan’s Facebook page by his lawyer, Nizar Saghieh, noted that the musician had been investigated three times in recent weeks. He was released late on Wednesday, though Saghieh says his client faces a maximum of two years in prison if the prosecutor decides to file formal slander charges against him.

According to the LA Times’ Babylon & Beyond blog, Sagieh called Hamdan’s detention “a blatant violation of the right of freedom of expression.” He added, “this increasingly obvious over-sensitivity of the regime to any form of criticism of the president is the problem of the regime and not the citizen.”