Kuwaiti journalist kicked out of Lebanon for political views

A renowned Kuwaiti journalist was barred from entering Lebanon and deported upon landing in Beirut, drawing quick condemnation from the Lebanese public.

Fajer Alsaeed, a TV show host with over 600,000 followers on Twitter and another 730,000 on Instagram, said she landed in Beirut on Wednesday evening. Upon going through passport control, which General Security runs, she said she was taken to an office for further questioning.

After waiting nearly two hours, Alsaeed said, she was informed that she had been permanently banned from entering the country.

Lebanon’s laws prevent anyone from entering the country if they have been to Israel, a country technically still at war with Beirut.

In a video posted to social media, Alsaeed said the reason for her ban was “purely political” and slammed those “in control” of the country in an apparent reference to Hezbollah.

She has previously criticized the Iran-backed Hezbollah and accused them of being “guards of Israel” following last year’s maritime border deal between Lebanon and Israel.

Lebanon’s General Security released a statement on Thursday, naming Alsaeed as an individual prevented from entering the country due to Lebanese laws. They added that she could appeal the permanent ban upon providing the necessary information.

While the Kuwaiti icon praised the people of Lebanon, including the General Security officers, who she said treated her with the utmost respect, she said her deportation was a clear message.

“Lebanon, the country that was one of freedom and culture, and welcomed all Palestinians, Syrians, and all those who wanted to escape their country, would come here. But this is now the situation of Lebanon, and God willing, we will see Lebanon in a better situation,” she said in the video posted.

Lebanese media outlets and politicians lambasted the decision to prevent her from entering the country, with most of the criticism and blame placed on Hezbollah.

Alsaeed later posted a picture of Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, slamming him for failing to help. “Isn’t he among the most socially and politically connected to Kuwait? And he knows that Kuwait is the only country that never hesitated to help Lebanon. But today, a Kuwaiti woman is being stopped at an airport ruled by your allies, Hezbollah, and you cannot intervene to show appreciation for Kuwait’s role and what it gave to Lebanon… Shame on you.”

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