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    Posted August 14, 2012 by
    Beirut, Lebanon
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Eye on Lebanon

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    Who is the engineer Tarek Rabaa? The political prisoner in Lebanon!


    Tarek Rabaa is a Lebanese citizen, the son of the famous tailor Omar Rabaa, born in Beirut in 1970. Tarek grew up in Beirut and specifically in Tarik Jdideh district beside Malaab al Baladi roundabout in a street known by RABAA street in reference to the social services his father Omar was rendering for the residents with the absenteeism of the Lebanese authorities during the Lebanese war which had lasted 15 years. Tarek’s mother belongs to Ismaiil family from a southern village Jouaya which is known by its wealthy population and his uncle is Nabil Ismaiil works in real estate brokering and constructions. Tarek has three brothers and 1 sister, Rabih Rabaa is a civil engineer, Abboud and Youssef are pharmacists and Nada Rabaa is a lawyer. The Rabaa’s family are living in Rabaa street and in Rabaa building where Tarek grew up with his cousins who work in manufacturing of clothes with a strong family bond. Tarek studied during the Lebanese war (13 April 1975 – 13 October 1990) at Beirut Arab University where he obtained his bachelor degree in electrical engineering in 1993 with distinction. He had won two golden prizes of excellence from the ex prime minister Rafic Hariri and a prize of distinction from the university for being ranked first on the whole engineering faculty. Tarek started his career in 1993 by working at Cablevision where he had excelled in the electronic field and in April 1995 he joined Cellis, one of the GSM operator in Lebanon, which was managed by the France telecom group and the current prime minister Najib Mikati who was a major shareholder in the company.


    Historical briefing on Cellis:
    Cellis had been headed by Salah Bouraad for 10 years (1994-2004) until a German-Saoudi company called Fald-Dete was introduced by the Lebanese government in June 2004 and it has substituted Alfa for Cellis when Jean Louis Kordahi, who was close to ex-Lebanese president Emile Lahhoud, was the minister of Telecom. In 1995 Cellis recruited Tarek as a transmission engineer in the transmission engineering unit and he was reporting to a French line Manager Philippe Girard who in turn was reporting to Lionel Coussi, the head of engineering department. The technical director for Cellis was Bernard Limeul, a French citizen also, but few months after Tarek had started his work, Philippe Girard left Lebanon and Christian Isorce had become the head of transmission engineering unit and he recruited the Lebanese engineer Marwan Hayek in 1995 in the transmission unit to work with Tarek. Few months later, Christian Isorce left Lebanon as well as Bernard Limeul, then Lionel Coussi had become the technical director for Cellis and Hubert Dufournet became the head of the engineering department. Lionel Coussi left Lebanon in October 1996 and another French technical director had been assigned, Patrick Soulard, who also left Lebanon until Patrick Eid had been assigned as CTO until he resigned in 2004. After the resignation of Christian Isorce, the transmission unit had been split to two units, one headed by Tarek Rabaa responsible for the studies related to high capacity links and another unit headed by Marwan Hayek responsible for low capacity microwave links. In 1999, Marwan Hayek resigned from Cellis further to internal conflicts in the company and specifically with the operation and maintenance department headed by Antoine Abi Safi who was continuously criticizing his work and complaining on the frequency interference and the interruption of the low capacity transmission network Marwan was responsible for its quality. Afterwards, Patrick Eid has transferred to Tarek Rabaa Marwan responsibilities and he unified the transmission unit to be responsible for both low and high capacity network. Patrick ordered Tarek to find solutions for the bad quality of the access network and for sure Tarek has succeeded in his mission.


    The conspiracy on Tarek Rabaa:
    Tarek was a brilliant and smart engineer, but in June 2004 after Fal-Dete had taken the helm to manage the cellular network, hundreds of employees resigned after receiving an indemnity limited to 133,000 USD. At that time Tarek was studying management at the Lebanese American University in Beirut from which he acquired an Executive Master degree in Business administration in 2006. From another side, Alfa management (CEO: Ineke Botter, CTO: Felix Wass) strangely appointed Farid Baz in 2005, a technician from the maintenance department, as the head of engineering department instead of Tarek and they had kept Tarek in the same position as head of transmission engineering unit until the military intelligence detained him arbitrary on July 12, 2010. in January 2008, the major Wissam Eid who had worked on analyzing the cellular phone records used in Hariri’s assassination, was assassinated beside Alfa’s headquarter and the ex telecom minister Jobran Bassil has substituted Orascom for Fal-Dete to manage the cellular network. Early in 2009, Jobran Bassil insisted on appointing Samer Salameh, his friend, as CEO until 2010 a new minister of telecom Charbel Nahhas appointed Marwan Hayek as CEO for Alfa. Just few months after Marwan Hayek has become the CEO for Alfa, the military intelligence arrested in June 2010 a technician known by Charbel Kazzi and on July 12, 2010 Tarek was summoned to the military intelligence under the pretext to help them to understand some technical points Charbel had told them during his investigation.


    Then, Tarek went with his car to the ministry of defense where it was an organized trap set in collaboration with Alfa and Charbel Kazzi to kidnap and detain Tarek without any judicial permission under the pretext he received a French call (0033607867583) on his mobile in 2007 which has revealed to be for a French taxi company Welcome V&V and not a call from the Mossad as they pretended. Tarek had been tortured physically in the basement of the ministry of defense because he was saying “on what will i confess?” and they kept him 108 days in an isolated room starving and kissing hands to have some food to eat until the intelligence, the general prosecutor Sakr Sakr and the military investigator judge Riad Abou Ghida had completed fabricating a falsified spying file just to help the so called Hizbullah to evade the Special Tribunal for Lebanon’s indictment by discrediting the cellular data record using the pretext of the telecom spies.


    The company Alfa has kept silent on what happened to Tarek and the management has frozen his salary since the first day of his detention after he had served his company for 15 years but he was envied by many employees because of his self confidence and because his excellence at work. Tarek Rabaa has been targeted based on a previously planned conspiracy in which Alfa is involved in collaboration with the military intelligence and Charbel Kazzi during the era of Marwan Hayek (Aouni member) in order to discredit the Special Tribunal for Lebanon indictment, to prevent Tarek from getting his promotion and to exploit the story of microwave links to put pressure on the government by the so called Hizbullah to approve in 2010 the 60 million USD fiber optic project which has revealed lately that part of it, is being used by the so called Hizbullah. Tarek was interrogated twice in public in the military court on June 30, 2011 and on September 15, 2011 after the court had rejected his defense plea and even the cassation court headed by the judge Alice Shobtini has retrieved herself from such political file and she rejected the appeal of his plea of defense. Local newspaper in Lebanon entitled Tarek’s interrogation in the court as follows: “If what Tarek Rabaa said is true, then the intelligence is a gang to dissolve and to prosecute“.


    Tarek is still arbitrary detained until today because they fear his innocence which will impact the intelligence image and the so called Hizbullah who is accused to kill Hariri. The brilliant and honest engineer is still in jai in spite of no confession or any evidence in all the investigation phases, but the military court headed by general Khalil Ibrahim and his civil consultant the judge Layla Raidi as well as the general prosecutor Sakr Sakr are insisting on keeping Tarek in jail in spite of his innocence because from one side they don’t want to scratch the intelligence image which fabricated a spying file to an honest engineer and from another side Wafic Safa, a security official member of the so called Hizbullah, is impeding Tarek’s release and he is sending his orders to Khalil Ibrahim who obeys directly because they fear the consequences of releasing an engineer who has been used as a shield in front of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. What happened with Tarek Rabaa might be repeated with other Lebanese and if the military court doesn’t release Tarek, this means that Iran is still ruling the sentences in such court and the Lebanese remember well how they helped the spy Fayez Karam to be released from Jail in less than 2 years in spite of his confession and the evidences against him, whereas Tarek who didn’t confess is still in jail since 2 years and 1 month. The March 8 coalition in Lebanon wants the court to sentence Tarek even if he is innocent, but Tarek, his family and the residents in Tarik al Jadideh have decided to fight to the end until releasing this political prisoner and they will not retreat from defending one of the most honest citizen in Lebanon even if they will pay billion of dollars to Tarek to settle this case by issuing a politicized sentence. Who knows Tarek’s traits, he speaks about his ethics, he cares about his reputation,he is assertive and he will not accept a trial based on a falsified indictment and wrong charges just to help the so called Hizbullah to evade an indictment which is accusing four of its members to assassinate Rafic Hariri. This is in brief the story of Tarek Rabaa for whom, nowadays, huge banners have been raised in Beirut with the slogan “The engineer Tarek Omar Rabaa is among the most honest people in Lebanon“.

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