Al Anwar.com Breaking News :
Seventy-five Lebanese Christian and anti-Syrian activists jailed earlier this month were freed on Monday with a warning and a fine of three million pounds (2,000 dollars) each, a judicial source said.
Among them was the retired general Nadim Lteif, who leads the supporters of exiled general Michael Aoun, the former Lebanese prime minister who led Christian forces in battle against Syria in 1989 before fleeing to France a year later.
Those jailed in the Lebanese army crackdown from August 5-8 were charged with "harming relations with a brother country," in reference to Syria, and insulting Lebanese President Emile Lahoud.
The source said 17 people belonging to the banned Lebanese Forcesmilitia are still detained. Among those still behind bars are former FL political advisor Tufiq Hindi as well as two journalists, Antoine Bassil, a correspondent for Saudi Arabia's MBC television, and Habib Younes, a correspondent for the London-based Al-Hayat.
The three are accused of having established contacts with an Israeli official, Odid Zaray, the press attache of the former coordinator of Israeli activities in southern Lebanon Uri Lubrani.
Two weeks ago, the army's intelligence services, which are under the president's authority, arrested some 200 Christian activists hostile to the Syrian presence in their country. Some of them were released before Monday.
Earlier Monday, a car bomb exploded without causing injuries near the Beirut headquarters of the judiciary where some of the activists are on trial, police said. Asked about the incidents, Transportation Minister Najib Mikati told reporters that the blast was "the work of a fifth column" and that "the forces of evil were looking to undermine Lebanese unity." Monday overnight, the office of the president of the Bar in north Lebanon, George Murani, was ransacked by strangers, police said.
On August 9-10, Murani's bar association and its Beirut counterpart had observed a strike to protest against the crackdown on the Christian and anti-Syrian activists and the way they were carried out.
Also on Monday, Lebanese Culture Minister Ghassan Salameh told the press that the army's brutality during the arrests had "harmed Lebanon's image abroad".