Beirut April 21, 2012
Maharat condemns the arrest of the two activists Khodor salameh and Ali Fakhri
On April 20, 2012 around midnight, the two activists Khodor Salameh and Ali Fakhri were arrested for expressing their opinion through artistic painting on the wall “Graffiti” in Bechara el Khoury area in Beirut.
The activist Abir Ghattas told Maharat that Ali and Khodor had begun painting on a concrete wall near the excavations under the bridge in Bechara el Khoury area, when they were arrested by the Lebanese army. Ghattas added that this is not the first time that Ali and Khodor confront with the security forces for reasons related to freedom of expression.
The activist Saad al Kurdy who is a friend of Ali and Khodor said to Maharat that they were painting political slogans supportive of the Arab revolutions, and that these paintings are the main reason for their arrest; even though the police did not declare the reason why the activists were detained. Al Kurdy added that Ali and Khodor were first taken to the Karantina station, and then to the military police and that they are now in Damascus road station.
Khodor Salameh is the writer of the blog “Hungry” nominated for “The BOBs” price issued by “Deutshe Welle” for the best blog out of 11 around the world. In addition, Salameh is famous for blogging and his two recent articles are “circus in the parliament” and “to the president of the Lebanese Republic Michel Suleiman”.
Ali Fakhri is an activist in “Nassawiya” and is part of a campaign against racial discrimination in Lebanon towards foreign workers.
This is not the first time that activists are arrested for drawing graffiti. Semaan Khawam was tried in the military court for breaking the rules as he painted in the summer of 2011 a character with the military uniform on a wall at Karantina.
Maharat Foundation condemns the arrest of the two activists Khodor Salameh and Ali Fakhri for expressing themselves through Graffiti and calls the Lebanese authorities to release them immediately; since their detention is a blatant attack on individual freedom expressed through the use of art.