Beirut, June 20, 2006:
New public attitudes survey among Lebanese lawyers reveals that 96% of
them are unanimous in the belief that one of the basic tasks of the
bar association is to defend the freedom of expression and other human
rights. Nevertheless, a high percentage of the lawyers polled are
fearful that their mere exercise of this right may bring upon them
retaliation by their own bar association.
a result of such fears, 40% of the lawyers who were approached refused
to participate in the poll. Furthermore, 35-40% of the lawyers who did
participate replied by "I do not know". The survey questionnaire does
not require the individual participants' names.
Still, the overwhelming majority of the lawyers who participated and
provided replies are, however, of the opinion that criticizing the
judiciary and the bar association part and parcel of the right to
freedom of speech. There is reason to believe that those lawyers who
abstained or gave no reply are of the same opinion.
survey was commissioned by CDRL and conducted by Information
International to ascertain the Lebanese lawyers' attitude towards the
defense of the freedom of expression in particular and human rights in
general in the light of the recent ruling by the Lebanese military
court of cassation that dropped charges against attorney Dr. Muhamad
Mugraby for his testimony in the European Parliament. The survey
involved meeting 729 lawyers at the Beirut palace of justice and six
other major court houses throughout Lebanon.
overwhelming majority of the polled attorneys, who find in the
criticism made by Attorney Dr. Muhamad Mugraby a legitimate exercise
of his right to freedom of expression and does not constitute
defamation, support the dropping of all remaining prosecutions against
him (82.5%) and the retraction by the bar association at Beirut of all
its criminal and disciplinary charges against him and its recognition
of his right to freedom of expression and the exercise of the legal
profession without obstruction (85%).
Full text of the survey can be downloaded in PDF Format:
further information: E-mail