Lebanon: Actor Ziad Itani accused of collaborating with Israel has been freed.
A prominent Lebanese celebrity who has spent months in detention accused of collaborating with Israel has had the case against him dropped.
A judge freed Ziad Itani from detention and ordered the arrest of a security officer who built the case against him.
Mr Itani was suspected of collecting data on Lebanese politicians with a view to passing it on to Israel.
Lebanon technically stays at war with Israel and collaborating is punishable by death.
Mr Itani was arrested in November on charges of “collaborating and communicating with the Israeli enemy”.
State security officials stated his arrest followed “several months of monitoring, follow-up and investigations”.
It had been alleged that Mr Itani had confessed to being “tasked to monitor a group of high-level political figures”. But,
close associates said his “confession” was extracted under duress, a claim denied by the authorities.
As he left Roumieh Prison on Tuesday, a tearful Mr Itani flashed a “V” for victory sign and said that he was subjected to a great injustice.
“I am an artist and the son of the stage… how could I be accused of such ugly things?” Lebanon’s official National News Agency reported him saying.
Prime Minister Saad Hariri afterwards met the actor and said the security services had received “wrong information”.
The security officer detained on the judge’s orders was a former head of an anti-cybercrime unit, Lt Col Suzan Hobeiche.