"No revolution will be ‘authorized’ by Law. But the Law, if used cannily, can create revolutions."
Ghida Frangieh is a Lebanese lawyer and researcher based in Beirut. She is involved in various strategic litigation campaigns to advance human rights in Lebanon, has various publications related to human rights issues and is a regular contributor to The Legal Agenda socio-legal magazine. Her current research and litigation interests focus on criminal justice, migration, and nationality. She obtained a master’s degree in applied human rights from the University of Aix-Marseille in France in 2006. She previously worked as a legal adviser for the protection of refugees and stateless persons with the Frontiers Ruwad Association and has been a senior attorney at the Nizar Saghieh Law Firm in Beirut since 2011. She is a member of the Tripoli Bar Association, a member of the Legal Agenda, a founding board member of the Ruwad Al-Houkouk Association, and a founding member of the Lawyers' Committee for the Defense of Protesters since 2015.
Lawyers have played a critical part in the mass popular movement that brought about the “October Revolution” in Lebanon in 2019 and that is now demanding significant political change in the country. Building on her years of experience defending vulnerable detainees – especially LGBT refugees – Ghida Frangieh describes the “Lawyers’ Committee” she set up, and the work it has done at the frontlines, defending and supporting the hundreds of protestors arrested and detained. She describes, unforgettably, her experiences counselling injured detainees in police-cells and searching for others who have been ‘disappeared’. “Law is too important to be left in the hands of lawyers alone,” she writes, describing the campaign she and colleagues ran to ensure that people knew Article 47 of the Lebanese constitution, which sets out detainees’ rights. So successful has this campaign been that it has resulted in a recent strengthening of the law by parliament. “The traditional view is that a lawyer is the one who steals your money or who protects the interests of people in power,” Ghida writes, “but now the perception of people involved in the uprising, at least, has changed, and we are often called ‘the lawyers of the revolution.’”