Skip to main content

Lebanon releases man who helped Syrian refugees

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 11:14 AM EDT, Tue May 22, 2012
  • The arrest of Islamist activist Chadi Mawlawi ignited Lebanese conflicts about Syria violence
  • Mawlawi was helping Syrian refugees in Lebanon
  • Lebanon accused him of being an operative in an al Qaeda-inspired group
  • Violence killed four people Monday in Lebanon

(CNN) -- Lebanon has released Chadi Mawlawi, an activist who was helping Syrian refugees and whose arrest sparked fighting in Lebanon.

The military investigating judge approved Mawlawi's release on bail, the Lebanese state-run news agency NNA reported Tuesday.

Fighting has been under way in parts of Lebanon, including suburbs of Tripoli, in what analysts describe as an extension of the unrest in neighboring Syria.

Mawlawi, an Islamist activist, was supporting Syrian rebels and trying to help refugees in Lebanon by providing shelter and food when he was arrested, one of his cousins said.

NATO Secy: 'Syrian opposition not united'
Iran cash helping al-Assad hold power

Lebanon accused Mawlawi of being an operative in an al Qaeda-inspired group -- something his relatives deny.

Nadim Shehadi, associate fellow of the Middle East and North Africa program at the London think tank Chatham House, said Lebanon is seeking neutrality and wants to avoid spillover from the Syrian violence. But "that's an impossible objective to attain because if you help the refugees, you're supporting the revolution, and if you don't help the revolution, you're supporting the regime."

Violence in Lebanon has spread in recent days.

Two clerics opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad were killed Monday at a military checkpoint in northern Lebanon.

The deaths sparked clashes between rival political parties -- one supporting al-Assad and the other opposing him -- that left two other people dead and 18 wounded in Beirut, according to the state-run news agency.

Derek Plumbly, the United Nations' special coordinator for Lebanon, called for an end to the violence and said the incidents must be "thoroughly investigated." And U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the United States is "concerned by the security situation."

Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:26 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
updated 7:09 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
updated 1:01 PM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
updated 10:48 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
updated 12:07 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
updated 7:15 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
updated 7:06 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
updated 7:37 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
updated 7:27 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.