ISF Major Arrested over Suspected Links to Itani's Case

ISF Major Arrested over Suspected Links to Itani's Case

Major Suzan Hajj, former head of the ISF's Cyber Crime and Intellectual Property Rights Protection Office, was taken from her house in Kfarhebab to undergo interrogation, Voice of Lebanon radio station reported on Friday.

Later, LBCI reported that Hajj was arrested in connection to the case of Ziad Itani, Lebanese comedian, director and playwright who has been charged with collaborating with Israel.

ISF's Information Branch is questioning Hajj over her suspected involvement in framing up Itani along with other accomplices, including a hacker who worked as an informant for the State Security and was hired to open fake accounts online that helped fabricate evidence implicating Itani.

The hacker, identified as Elie Gh., was arrested earlier this week and confessed to assuming this task upon Hajj's request.

Voice messages between Hobeiche and the hacker back up this chain of events, local newspaper Al-Akhbar reported Saturday.

The hacker's wife and father-in-law were also arrested in connection to this case, MTV reported. 

LBCI quoted sources at the Interior Ministry as saying.

The same sources noted that Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk ordered two weeks ago that the Information Branch would handle Itani's case and relaunch the probe. 

"All the Lebanese apologize to Ziad Itani. Innocence is not enough. The only fixed truth is that we are proud of him and his patriotism. Woe to the malevolent, idiot and sectarian people who found no one to target other than this noble, authentic Beiruti man," Machnouk wrote on Twitter shortly after Hajj was arrested. 

Hajj was discharged from her post in October after she had liked, by mistake as she claimed, a Twitter post mocking Saudi Arabia's decision to allow women to drive.

Former Minister Ashraf Rifi was the first to shed the light on Itani's innocence, saying that another Ziad Itani, journalist in charge of the Ayoub News website, was the real target.

Rifi argued that Hajj wanted to get back at Itani because he was the one who circulated a screenshot of her "Twitter Like" before she had undone it.

Other media reports say that Ziad Itani, the comedian, was the one targeted as he is believed to have played a key role in dismissing Hajj of her post after screenshoting her "like".