Beirut singer jailed for song telling president: Go home

Arrest comes after Lebanese interior minister sees video, made in 2010, deems it libelous to Suleiman, 'Daily Star' reports.

Zeid Hamdan_311 (photo credit: YouTube screenshot)
Zeid Hamdan_311
(photo credit: YouTube screenshot)
Frontman Zeid Hamdan of the Lebanese band Zeid and the Wings and defunct Soapkills was arrested Wednesday on charges that he defamed the Lebanese president in the song "General Suleiman."
The arrest came after Interior Minister Marwan Charbel saw a video for the song, which was made in 2010, and claimed it was offensive to the country's president, Lebanese newspaper The Daily Star reported.
The song, originally written in 2008 after Michel Suleiman was elected to his current term, requests the president to clamp down on the country's violent factions and quell corruption, but also contains the closing line "General Suleiman / Go home." In the video, Hamdan sings the controversial line swatting at the camera.
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The frontman announced the arrest on his Facebook page, telling fans he was being prosecuting for defamation and urging them to "mobilize."
Hamdan's lawyer said in a statement that the musician could end up in jail for two years if convicted of libel, adding that the arrest "reveals the level of contempt of the general authorities for personal freedom," The Daily Star reported.