Nation & World

Jan 18, 12:09 PM EST

Lebanese journalist sentenced in absentia for army criticism

BEIRUT (AP) -- Lebanon's military court has sentenced a Lebanese journalist in absentia to six months in prison for comments critical of the Lebanese army.

Activists and colleagues say Hanin Ghaddar, a visiting fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, was accused of "undermining the Lebanese army" at a conference held by the Institute in Washington in May 2014.

The ruling was handed down last week and made known on Thursday.

Ghaddar, a critic of the Shiite militant Hezbollah group, said at the event that the Lebanese army distinguishes between Sunni and Shiite militants, suggesting it tolerates the latter.

Robert Satloff, the Institute's executive director, tweeted that the verdict is "outrageous."

The Beirut-based SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom condemned the court's "repressive behavior compromising Lebanon's uniqueness in the region."

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