Octavia Nasr later apologized for her tweet in which she described Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah as "one of Hezbollah's giants I respect a lot." But CNN officials said her credibility had been compromised.
Hezbollah's spokesman Ibrahim Moussawi says CNN's decision amounts to "intellectual terrorism" and reflects the West's "double standards" in dealing with the Mideast.
He said in a statement issued on Friday that the decision to fire Nasr a Lebanese who worked for CNN for two decades exposes America's false claims regarding freedom of expression.
Praise for record on 'women's rights'
In a Twitter posting over the weekend, Nasr said she was sad to hear of Fadlallah's death. She called him "one of Hezbollah's giants I respect a lot."
CNN issued a statement on Tuesday calling it an error in judgment for Nasr to write such a simplistic tweet.
Nasr later said in a blog that she had been referring to Fadlallah's attitude toward women's rights. The cleric had issued edicts banning so-called "honor killing" of women and giving women the right to hit their husbands if attacked first.
She wrote that Fadlallah was "revered across borders yet designated a terrorist. Not the kind of life to be commenting about in a brief tweet. It's something I deeply regret."
But Khosravi said in a memo Wednesday that she spoke with Nasr and "we have decided that she will be leaving the company."
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