Prominent Lebanese journalist sued by central bank governor for 'tarnishing' bank's reputation

Prominent Lebanese journalist sued by central bank governor for 'tarnishing' bank's reputation
2 min read
20 May, 2020
Famed Lebanese journalist Dima Sadek said she was summoned for questioning by security forces after an alleged lawsuit by the country's central bank governor.
Sadek was summoned for questioning by officials several times [Getty]
Prominent Lebanese journalist Dima Sadek said on Wednesday she has been summoned for questioning by security forces after Central Bank governor, Riad Salameh, allegedly filed a lawsuit against her.

Sadek tweeted, last week, that she was summoned to the Internal Security Forces' Criminal Investigation Bureau in Beirut without being given a reason.

On Monday, she later found out Salameh had sued her for having "tarnished the reputation of banks and the prestige of the economy", she said.

"I am currently being interrogated," Sadek tweeted on Wednesday. "I am officially accused of having: 1) worked to undermine the state's financial reputation; 2) incited the poor classes against the governor of the Banque du Liban; 3) damaged the reputation of Lebanon's banking sector."

Sadek is known for her support of anti-government protests that have swept through Lebanon as the country faces economic turmoil. She has been summoned for questioning several times.

Sadek's most recent summons saw her, along with blogger Gino Raidy, questioned at the Criminal Investigations Bureau in February after a complaint from the Free Patriotic Movement Party, which had accused the pair of "inciting sectarian strife" and "publishing fake news" on Twitter.

Sadek had previously resigned from her anchor role at Lebanese television channel LCBI, after she felt she was being "sidelined" due to her political views.

When protests first erupted in October 2019, Sadek was subjected to harassment online and on the streets.

Fake pictures of Sadek in compromising situations were sent to her mother, causing her to be hospitalised after suffering a stroke.

In November 2019, Sadek was heckled and had her phone snatched from her hand by Hezbollah supporters as she was covering protests.

Social media users have condemned Sadek's summons and criticised Salameh for pursuing the journalist at the height of an economic crisis.

Raidy has called for protests in front of Beirut's Justice Palace, where she was being questioned.

Lebanon is mired in its worst financial crisis since its 1975-1990 civil war.

The Lebanese pound had been pegged to the dollar at 1,500 since 1997 but the country's worst economic crisis in decades has seen its value plunge by more than half on the black market.

Last week, Lebanese prosecutors ordered the arrest of a senior central bank official as part of an investigation into exchange rate manipulations.

Angered by the financial collapse, demonstrators across Lebanon re-energised last month in Tripoli.

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