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October 20, 2021

Statement of ABA President Reginald Turner Re: Mistreatment of lawyers in Lebanon

WASHINGTON, Oct. 20, 2021 – The American Bar Association is concerned about the increased harassment and intimidation of lawyers and judges in Lebanon.

In one recent case, Rami Ollaik, a member of the Beirut Bar Association and anti-corruption activist, has been charged with criminal defamation for allegedly criticizing the Higher Judicial Council and the state prosecutor. In another, Mohammad Sablouh, a member of the Tripoli Bar Association and a prominent defender of refugee rights, has faced judicial harassment and been denied access to clients.

Meanwhile, judges in the investigation of the August 2020 Beirut port explosion have been threatened and subjected to repeated attempts of removal by members of the Lebanese Parliament and to political interference by former ministers. In response to this repressive and destabilizing climate, the Beirut Bar Association has condemned the harassment of lawyers and has called for greater protection of judicial independence.

The ABA stands in solidarity with all members of the legal profession endeavoring to carry out their work without undue interference, in accordance with international standards.

The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at and on Twitter @ABANews.