ArDO: Yes we want Lebanon to be the Switzerland of the East and Beirut the Paris of the East


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For Immediate Release

According to a new public attitude survey:
Lebanese lawyers support freedom of speech But are terrified by their own bar association!

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.

As 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.

The 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.

An 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:




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