Bishop Moussa el-Hage was only released thanks to the intervention of the highest Lebanese authorities. The Archbishop of Haifa and Jerusalem did not appear before the military court. The Maronite Church has called for Fadi Akiki, close to Hezbollah, to be brought before the Disciplinary Council of the Judiciary and removed from office
Beirut () – The Maronite Archbishop of Jerusalem and the Holy Land, Moussa el-Hage, whose seat is in Haifa (Israel), was not eight, as was initially reported, but twelve hours of interrogation. In reaction to his arrest, the Maronite Patriarch, Cardinal Béchara Raï, convened an extraordinary meeting of the Permanent Council in the late afternoon and condemned this unprecedented attack on the Maronite Church, calling it a “farce of security, judicial and politics”, leaving it to the public to guess who could be behind it, although allusions have been made to Hezbollah.
Archbishop Moussa el-Hage was arrested on 18 July and transferred to the General Security headquarters in Ras Nakoura before being allowed to continue his journey, on condition that he appear before a military court. According to ecclesiastical sources, he was released only after the intervention of the highest Lebanese judicial authorities, since the original intention of the government commissioner of the Military Court, Fadi Akiki – who had ordered his arrest and the confiscation of his passport and mobile phone – was to hold him All night long. Archbishop el Hage was accused by the military court of having violated the Israel boycott law because he was delivering aid from Lebanese and Palestinians living in Israel to their relatives living in Lebanon affected by the economic crisis, a pastoral service that has been lending for a long time. Security forces seized large amounts of medicine, food and canned goods, worth approximately $480,000, the sources said.
According to several testimonies, the medicines that the archbishop was carrying were confiscated on the pretext that the boxes and prescriptions were written in Hebrew, although the donors had tried to erase some inscriptions to avoid disputes. Medicines for chronic diseases, cancer, diabetes and kidney failure were stolen and thrown away.
The names of many former South Lebanon Army militiamen were identified in the list of benefactors. According to sources close to the investigation, the transfer of funds between “the occupied territories and Lebanon is considered a crime, and the bishop had already been warned that he should not transfer funds or medicines that had been given to him by people wanted by justice Lebanese and residents of the occupied territories.” The South Lebanon Army is an auxiliary militia of the Israeli army whose members fled to Israel when it withdrew from Lebanon in May 2000.
The Maronite Church reproached the officials, and in particular the Minister of Justice, for their inaction and silence in the face of the methods used by the Military Court and called for Fadi Akiki, close to Hezbollah, to be brought before the Disciplinary Commission of the Council of the Judiciary of the Judiciary and be removed from office.
Cardinal Bechara Raï refers in the statement to the “uses and customs” that regulate the relationship between the Church and the Lebanese State, from which the Military Court has seriously departed, habits and customs that are notoriously marked by due deference to men of religion, by virtue of their status. The statement also fails to mention that the Maronite Church “was at the origin of the creation of Greater Lebanon.”
The director of General Security, General Abas Ibrahim, published a tweet in which he states that General Security “only executed a judicial order”.
Archbishop Moussa el-Hage did not appear before the military court yesterday as scheduled.
In its statement, the Maronite Church asks for “the restitution of the sum confiscated by the Military Court”, entrusted to the archbishop by “Lebanese and Palestinian benefactors” and intended to alleviate the burden of many needy families “from all Lebanese communities”, not only maronite. The statement from the Maronite Church makes it clear that in his pastoral service the archbishop was not acting on his own, but “was acting on the basis of guidelines that are none other than those of the Maronite Church and the Vatican.” Therefore, the Church will not try to justify his action in the eyes of the security services.
The statement also calls for the state to extend its protection to all Lebanese, “including Lebanese forced to leave the country” for historical reasons, and whose children are notoriously prevented from registering in the Lebanese civil registry, which poses inextricable problems of inheritance. and succession. He compares current times “with other times and past empires” and, without naming Hezbollah, recalls that the Church has tried to compare the type of inquisitorial society that the Shiite group is imposing in Lebanon with a society open to human rights and the freedoms that the Maronite Church has always promoted in Lebanon and in the East.