BEIRUT (Reuters) -Lebanese Christian politician Samir Geagea said on Saturday that recent judicial decisions against his party were against the law.
Speaking at a news conference days after a judge charged him over deadly violence in Beirut in October, Geagea said that the judicial decisions were aimed at tarnishing the image of his Lebanese Forces (LF) party.
“The attempts to isolate, encircle, intimidate and abolish the Lebanese Forces continue to this day… And the latest attempt in this regard was judicial decisions that were born-dead because they are against every law,” he said, without mentioning the charge.
Seven people, all of them followers of the Iran-backed, heavily armed Shi’ite Muslim group Hezbollah and its Shi’ite ally the Amal Movement, were killed in the Oct. 14 clashes near an old frontline of the 1975-90 civil war.
Geagea, a leading opponent of Hezbollah who has good ties with Saudi Arabia, was summoned to a hearing at military intelligence last October over the violence, but did not attend.
The Oct. 14 violence began as people were gathering for a protest called by Hezbollah against the judge investigating the 2020 Beirut port blast.
Hezbollah accused the LF of mounting an ambush to try to drag the country to a civil war.
Geagea has said the trouble began when supporters of the Shi’ite parties entered the Christian neighbourhood of Ain al-Remmaneh where they vandalised cars and four residents were wounded before a shot was fired.
Geagea was speaking at an event to launch the candidacy of an LF candidate who is running in a May parliamentary election.
Hezbollah and groups politically aligned to the movement won a majority of seats in parliament in the last election in 2018.
The Lebanese Forces media officer, Elie Kayrouz, said in a statement on Saturday that the charge is “political prejudice and an apparent slander against the Forces and Samir Geagea” ahead of the parliamentary election.
(Reporting by Enas Alashray; Editing by Tom Perry, Ros Russell, William Maclean)