Judge Khoury Issues Search and Inquiry Order for Journalist Mariam Lahham

After refusing to undergo a urine test, judge Ghassan Khoury issued a search and inquiry order for journalist Mariam Majdouline Lahham on Wednesday in a new episode of crackdowns on journalists and freedoms in the country.

Background of the Case

Initially, Lahham was summoned to investigations under the pretense of a defamation lawsuit against her by judge Mohammad Assaf from the Supreme Islamic Sharia Court. This came as a response to Lahham revealing on her Twitter platform that Assaf had allegedly received a bribe in a case he was presiding over.

While Lahham was being investigated for the defamation lawsuit, security forces entered her house in search of her cellphone and claimed to have found traces of hashish, after which she was requested to undergo a urine test.

Violations by Security Forces

According to lawyer Diala Chehade, who’s been following up on Lahham’s case but who also handled other freedom-related legal cases such as that of comedian Nour Hajjar and previously that of Jean Kassir, informed Khoury through a letter that security forces committed violations and explained the flaws in the urine test before the search and inquiry order was issued.

According to Lahham, she was also subject to a number of other violations, including being verbally and physically abused, the confiscation of her personal laptop even after the post in question was removed, and others.


Khoury’s order comes in the context of increasing crackdowns on freedoms in the country, as only this week two other journalists were subject to attacks. On one hand, journalist Charbel Khoury was summoned for investigation after a defamation lawsuit by journalist Ghassan Saoud. On the other hand, cybercrime bureau forces order Beirut Today’s managing editor, Lynn Cheikh Moussa, to remove a post from X – previously known as Twitter – after defamation claims by K.B.R.

Lahham has a long history of back-and-forths with many of the country’s political groups, whereby exposure has been a central element of her reporting and posting, often leading to heated debates and fights with accused figures.

On his part, Mohammad Assaf is reportedly one of the figures considered to succeed current Grand Mufti of Lebanon Sheikh Abdul Latif Derian. It remains to be seen how much the recent developments have impacted his prospects of succession.