BEIRUT: Lebanese actor Ziad Itani was released Tuesday from Roumieh prison following a decision by Military Investigative Judge Riad Abu Ghaida.
Ghaida also issued arrest warrants for Major Suzanne Hajj Hobeiche, the former head of the Anti-Cybercrime and Intellectual Property Bureau, and hacker Elie Ghabash at the conclusion of their interrogation at the Military Tribunal in Lebanon.
Making his way out of Roumieh Prison, Itani expressed his delight to be freed, telling reporters "that I was accused of the gravest crime, but now the truth has come out."
The actor then thanked Lebanon's authorities including Prime Minister Saad Hariri and President Michel Aoun for "seeking out justice."
During his meeting with the Lebanese premier, Itani was reunited with his mother, before expressing his gratitude to Lebanon's Judicial system.
In a tweet posted on his personal account, Itani called on his supporters to gather at Tariq El Jdide
As crowds gathered around his house, Itani was given a hero's welcome, seizing the opportunity to echo his innocence after being asked why he initially confessed.
"The truth of what happened to me during the first five minutes of my arrest will come out," Itani said.
When prompted on whether his initial confession came under duress and as a result of torture, Itani said that he was "tortured on the night of Sunday, November 26, 2017, days after news of my confession came out."
Supporters of Itani gather next to his house in Tariq El Jdide
Itani was first arrested in November 2017 after being accused of collaborating with an Israeli female spy to collect information about Lebanese politicians and journalists.
Yet the case took a bizarre twist last week after the Information Branch of Lebanon’s Internal Security Forces said Hobeiche was suspected of hiring Ghabash to frame Itani whom she blames for her ouster from her previous post.
Ghabash is reportedly an informant registered with State Security, the agency that initially detained and questioned Itani.
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