Al-Jadeed Crew Freed after being Beaten, Detained by Customs Agents in Downtown Beirut

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Customs agents on Tuesday assaulted and arrested an al-Jadeed TV crew near the security agency's headquarters in downtown Beirut, which sparked protests and broad solidarity with the detained journalists.

The four journalists were released on Tuesday evening after several hours of detention.

Following a lawsuit filed by al-Jadeed, the Central Criminal Investigations Department started interrogating the crew under the supervision of acting State Prosecutor Judge Samir Hammoud.

They were later released after being examined by a forensic doctor.

Earlier, Hammoud stressed that “the judiciary is with freedoms, not against them.”

According to al-Jadeed channel, “Tahet Taelat al-Masouliya” crew were beaten up by Customs agents over an episode on the “corruption at the airport customs.”

Riad Qobeissi, Adeeb Farhat, Ali Shreim and Ali Khalifeh were arrested by the security agency.

According to the channel, the four men were referred to the public prosecution for further investigations.

Qobeissi and the crew were allegedly calling through speaker on acting director of Customs Shafiq Merhi to give them an interview when Brig. Gen. Ibrahim Shamseddine gave customs members an order to beat and detain them.

Al-Jadeed reported that the crew had an approval from the Finance Ministry to interview Merhi, who refused to meet them.

Several activists and journalists gathered near the customs headquarters demanding the swift release of the four men, but Customs agents again resorted to the same behavior and assaulted the protesters who were rallying in the location.

“We condemn the attacks against journalists and the competent court will adopt the necessary measures in this respect,” caretaker Information Minister Walid Daouq told al-Jadeed later on Tuesday.

For his part, caretaker Labor Minister Salim Jreissati told LBCI television that “attacking journalists is unacceptable and investigative journalism helps institutions to recognize their mistakes.”

Meanwhile, National Media Council chief Abdul Hadi Mahfoud said that “what is surprising is that the state transformed into a militia and beat up civilians and journalists instead of protecting them.”

On the ground, the army took strict security measures around the Customs building in Sidon after youth groups called for a sit-in, according to MTV.

The seaside road in Sidon near the Customs office was later blocked in protest at the assault on al-Jadeed's crew.

A mass rally was also held outside the Justice Palace in Beirut in solidarity with the detained men.

On Monday evening, the Lebanese Customs Administration issued a statement saying Qobeissi shouted "slogans that insult the Customs Administration and its director general … and this is not the appropriate manner to request an interview.”

“The commotion continued for a long time before the agents tasked with protecting and guarding the public administration's headquarters intervened and asked them to stop the shameful act they were doing, but they did not respond,” the statement added.

“At that point, one of the Customs agents tried to remove the director general's picture that was posted on one of the cars, but he was faced by a tirade of insults and manhandling,” the statement noted, accusing the journalists of attempting to “storm” the administration's building.

“After warning them, some guards intervened to defend the HQ, protect their colleague, put an end to this abnormal situation and arrest the violators in line with the applicable laws,” the statement said.

The Customs Administration condemned what it called “this unprecedented attack,” urging al-Jadeed's administration to show “journalistic ethics” in dealing with “public administrations and institutions” and in “broadcasting facts objectively and without deliberate distortion.”

It said it reserves "its right to take the appropriate legal measures against anyone involved in plotting or executing this attack and against those who kept waging media campaigns ahead of any judicial investigations."

Comments 59
Thumb benzona 26 November 2013, 14:53

of course the customs are corrupt. some
influential people in my family can have imported cars from my family unloaded at the port without paying taxes in return of favours elsewhere.

this is no secret to anyone! those who deny are liars.

and if I'm not mistaken, the port top authority is chiite, so people can be friendly when its about corruption.

Default-user-icon custom (Guest) 26 November 2013, 16:03

The port is in the hand of hariri gang whereas the aeroport is in the hand of the hezb.
You must no be proud relaying lies and rumors and not knowing how the things really are.

Missing helicopter 26 November 2013, 17:16

The apple does not fall far from the tree.

Thumb benzona 26 November 2013, 23:17

yes, I v heard it all !

Thumb thepatriot 26 November 2013, 14:56


Thumb benzona 26 November 2013, 15:03

c'est la définition du Liban actuel. j'insiste sur le mot actuel!

Thumb geha 26 November 2013, 15:00

hizbushaitan type of law and order :)
if anyone tries to say the truth about the dealings of this terrorist Iranian militia, this is what happens.
and to the skeptics: yes customs are totally under hizbushaitan control.

Thumb benzona 26 November 2013, 15:02

that's what I thought but wasn't sure.

Thumb _mowaten_ 26 November 2013, 19:49

that's total bull. geha the customs depend on the ministry of finance, and the ministry of finance is headed by safadi, one of miqati's.
you guys just keep on blaming everything on HA without the slightest proof, it has become beyond ridiculous.

Thumb geha 26 November 2013, 20:30

what is ridiculous are your comments which do not stand at all :)
check your facts: the minister of finance (although I do not like him) washed his hands from the customs publicly and asked for them to be prosecuted.
moreover, they are hizbushaitan backed entity.

Missing peace 26 November 2013, 22:25

"he customs depend on the ministry of finance, and the ministry of finance is headed by safadi, one of miqati's."

waw! great logic from moowaten once again! if directed by safadi then it means all the people working under the ministry's orders are with safadi! powerful argument!

second thing : the ministry gave their approval for the interview but a general opposed the decision.... why don't you blame this general the same way you blamed another one for disobeying baroud's orders?

double standards again? LOL

Thumb _mowaten_ 27 November 2013, 10:45

and so what is your argument to say the guy is HA? they has nothing to do with him and these are just gratuitous accusations.

as for safadi's approval of the interview it is true, and the head of customs in my opinion should have answered the journalists instead of behaving like a thug. but for the sake of common sense, dont mix up things, an approval is not an order.

Thumb sevilla 26 November 2013, 15:20

You can import any material, substance, goods in a container and have a "designated" Shia "transiteur" get it thru customs without it ever being opened by paying 8000 USD to Amal and HA. Dahiyeh destined material is imported by these thugs without paying custom duties. They control the port and Airport. How can you buy an iPhone in Dahiyeh cheaper than you can buy it in California?:)))) Building material, furniture, electronics, etc.... They are robbing the country BLIND! They are the resistance, the liberators, the people who grow Hasheesh, trade in drugs, and are protected and dignified because they are ashraf el nass. Partition or revolution is needed.

Thumb sevilla 26 November 2013, 15:24

The government revenues from import custom duties have declined by more than 40% over the last 2 years while imports have only declined by 12%. The difference is in Amal and HA pockets.

Thumb _mowaten_ 27 November 2013, 10:46

sources? i call bull.

Thumb sevilla 26 November 2013, 15:27

If you want internet satellite dishes that connects you to the outside world without going thru the Lebanese communications network, you can buy it thru a SHIA dealer in Dahiyeh for 7000 USD. It is illegal in Lebanon, but if you buy it from him, you have no worries and you are protected. I have one of those satellites:)

Thumb _mowaten_ 27 November 2013, 10:47

so on top of being a sectarian caveman, you're a self-admitted felon?

Thumb FlameCatcher 26 November 2013, 15:34

We all know who controls the customs at the port and airport...

This shows again that Kezballah is acting above Lebanese laws ...

How do you think they smuggle all their drugs and weapons and counterfeight products ?

Default-user-icon Tigger (Guest) 26 November 2013, 16:04

When are most if you impostors going to stop making your comments sectarian based? This is the lay of the landscape in all third world countries. They are all corrupt in their ways and you can pay whomever off since these civil servants in customs are underpaid to begin with. Even here in the US and Canada there is corruption .

Default-user-icon Tigger (Guest) 26 November 2013, 16:06

Would prefer if people would post and vent their frustration with the government in general instead of inciting hatred thru sectarian comments. That is the problem with us Lebanese. We always relate things based on religion instead of looking at ourselves in the mirror as lebanese. Most of you probably weren't even around when the civil war happened but are unfortunately raised in a family full of hatred to one side or other or religion. Why? I am a minority Christian and I see corruption in both Christians and Muslims . Quit making this a Hizbullah or LF or other issue. It is a disease most of you have and until you realize the root cause , this cycle of hatred

Default-user-icon Tigger (Guest) 26 November 2013, 16:07

will continue. I have yet to see any discussions worth sharing but I have had enough of reading Geha and FT and Iceman and and and... Comments of spreading hatred. You are not worthy of being lebanese ( if you are) or even speaking on behalf of Lebanon. I wonder which corrupt person employs all of you. The story here is how the government is corrupt in general and not by religion since I am sure there are enough stories to cover all sects.

Thumb benzona 26 November 2013, 22:37

FT, sans hostilité aucune, if you defend FPM/HA/AMAL/MUSTAQBAL/LF/PHALANGES etc you're de facto sectarian. it is not your fault, its the system and the norm. so Tigger has a point.

Thumb EagleDawn 26 November 2013, 16:09

24 minutes ago National Media Council chief Abdul Hadi Mahfoud to al-Jadeed: What is surprising is that the state transformed into a militia and beat up civilians and journalists instead of protecting them.

Welcome to the Islamic Republic of Lebanon!

Thumb cityboy 26 November 2013, 19:42

If you really believe what you said, why not start a revolt.

Default-user-icon Baltrim Fizlaung (Guest) 26 November 2013, 16:09

Customs Agents = Hariri Mafia

Thumb benzona 26 November 2013, 22:39

pants on fire, someone is a liar. if it were in Hariri's hands we wouldn't have to trade favours with chiites in return of laisser-passer for importing goods!

Default-user-icon elkatmando (Guest) 27 November 2013, 03:29

blah blah blah blah blah. puff. puff. blah blah blah blah blah

Thumb EagleDawn 26 November 2013, 16:10

he s a customs clearance agent at the port.

Thumb EagleDawn 26 November 2013, 16:11

well said!

Thumb geha 26 November 2013, 16:26

there is a major consensus in Lebanon these days: hizbushaitan needs to be uprooted so we can regain our country.

Default-user-icon Tigger (Guest) 26 November 2013, 16:29

I guess all of you haters missed the scrimmage between LF and Mirada. Blame thus on the Hizz too? As I said earlier sectarian hatred is a disease amongst most Lebanese and until you realize that , your remarks will continue to expose your hatred and true colours. Start posting some general comments and quit blaming others. There is enough blame amongst us Christians without pointing fingers .

Thumb FlameCatcher 26 November 2013, 16:36

Silence of the Ghanam :)

Missing helicopter 26 November 2013, 18:10

mowaten, southern, ft, the_roar, mustic, and few others of HA defense team (loyalty to the resistance commentators)......... any comments? I am interested in what you have to say about this article.

Thumb cityboy 26 November 2013, 19:47

yeah, what does this have to do with HA or FPM.

Missing helicopter 26 November 2013, 21:34

I thought that Merhi guy is a HA/Amal thug and that the Customs in the airport is controlled by them. Am I wrong?

Missing peace 26 November 2013, 19:04

no FPMer? they boast to be the champions in the battle against corrupton but none here to denounce this scandal....
they definately deserve NO respect....

Missing peace 26 November 2013, 19:06

but coming from people who support parties that burned down a TV, and threw molotovs at another no wonder.... they do not respect the press and are afraid of it like all those against democracy....

Thumb cityboy 26 November 2013, 20:32

all that matters to the idiots is that customs links to airport and airport links to HA cameras and therefore it must be every Shiites fault.

Missing helicopter 26 November 2013, 21:36

Do I need to remind you that the protestor who was killed by HA in front of the Iranian embassy was also Shiite. This is exactly the point, HA/Amal can not deal with anyone who might expose them (be it friend or foe), this is why they killed Harriri even after he initially propped them up.

Missing peace 26 November 2013, 22:20

" those who got beaten are an M8 channel."

so what? if they do their job of exposing truths that seems to disturb a lot of people covering the customs... you didn't even condemned their beatings... seems you want to protect people also....

and they also were targeted by hezbis because they went against them, something otv would never do!
meaning your "M8 channel" can criticize M8 too!!! would otv do that? i wonder, certainly not criticize their hezbi pimps! , LOL

but as you are allied with those hezbis who threw molotovs at this channel and their friends that burned down another tv station , we see what press means to you as long as they are not with you...

oh! and if the journalists discover and tell people who benefit and covers the customs, be it M8 or M14 , it will be a very good thing...
(that is for your binary mind always believing that i am M14 because i spit on M8!)

seems the idiot here turns out to be you, once again....

Thumb _mowaten_ 26 November 2013, 19:24

you guys are shameful, especially you bani, to make this sectarian. the behavior of the agents is unacceptable, they should be thrown of the force and into jail. this has nothing to do with a sect or a political side.
if anything, see the ISF officer standing right in front an not even reacting. if you want to blame the blame game you know what side the ISF is on.

Default-user-icon Applauding_the_Sheep (Guest) 26 November 2013, 19:40

Got to love the comments, on autopilot. No one less sectarian the next one. What state body is not corrupt. As if Lebanese Christians were less corrupt than Lebanese Muslims, in both cases in all their colors and affiliations.
Good GOD you people are just as much part of the problems of this sad little country as the people you condemn. Citing Bashir Gemayel.... or Gaegae or Berri or I don't know who but usually an other war criminal. Why don't you go clean in your own backyards for a change.
Here is a contest for all why don't you go and see who can come up with the most corrupt member of his own little party.
Sheep .... it is sad.

Missing peace 26 November 2013, 19:47

sorry but the story at stake here is denouncing the customs corruption and journalists get beaten for that.... isn't it scandalous? and everyone knows who holds the main points of entry in the country: it's a fact not sectarianism!

Thumb _mowaten_ 26 November 2013, 19:45

*play the blame game

Thumb BOULOS1 26 November 2013, 21:15

Animals at best

Thumb Bandoul 26 November 2013, 23:01

Let me break it down for those who have eyes but refuse to see. There is a group who is armed to the teeth and has his gun pointed at the other group's head. The armed group forces its will and subjugate the other group's will at gunpoint. It is tyranny. We will never be silenced until the gun is removed from our head, then and only then we will know through peaceful democratic means which direction the free people of Lebanon want to take the country in.

Thumb Bandoul 26 November 2013, 23:02

If above is not possible, then khalssouna ba2a and PARTITION PLEASE! They can take their part of the country back to the stone age while we fast forward ours into the future.

Thumb benzona 26 November 2013, 23:20

but if one side prospers, the other will get jealous and will do everything to undermine it. and believe me, there will be a fifth column in each side in order to prevent it from thriving.

Allah yistor

Default-user-icon Charles Tucker III (Guest) 26 November 2013, 23:34

It's strange, really. Instead of realizing that this is just another case of abuse of authority and "I was just following orders" excuse, many comments seem to directly relate this to some sectarian or political issue.

Really, it's as simple as journalists having their basic rights violated in an illegal and immoral manner.

Instead of finding common ground and rallying together to fight such corruption - because this would be something independent of sectarianism - some would rather make this matter into something ti is not.

Keep hating each other and finding reasons to do so. Make humanity proud.

Default-user-icon Zavrolio Blikman (Guest) 27 November 2013, 01:25

Cherchez these three drug trafficking mafias:
1. Mafia Hariri
2. Mafia Jumblat
3. Mafia Suleiman

Default-user-icon habil (Guest) 27 November 2013, 10:28

nsit mafia emmak!

Default-user-icon Berdival Shingazlon (Guest) 27 November 2013, 11:03

No, he did not. I know her. Her name is Bahia Hariri.

Missing Friedman86 27 November 2013, 01:52

Now, I'm not a shiia, and I gave up on lebanon a long time ago, I even remember a lot of you people from the start of this forum, was stupidly active on it during 2002 2003 period.
But if i were a shiia, and i saw 5 percent of the shit you are writing and have been writing for the last two or three years, I would make you mama lift weights before i give you one ammo i have.
Anarchy, Federalism, Free Market, NOW ;)
Oh and u know what's funny for an anti statist anarchist like me? That i don't even need to budge for that a failed state like lebanon perishes, great news for humanity, cheers X

Thumb sevilla 27 November 2013, 10:23

of course you are not a shia.

Thumb shab 27 November 2013, 04:25

Pure filth

Thumb ishteraki 27 November 2013, 08:34

i found this on Facebook :

تحية للحمارك...
مشكلة "الجديد"... اهلية بمحلية!!!
كلهن من اهل البيت.... الفاسدين والمرتشيين وقوى امر الواقع التي تحكم مرفاء بيروت...والمطار ونص لبنان...واعلام الاستكبار والسبق الاعلامي!!!

Default-user-icon dddd (Guest) 27 November 2013, 09:18

Dawlet ze3ran wa 3oulouj ... ou cha3eb majdoub ma bi taleb bi 72ou2ou, bel 3akess byente5eb el zbeleh yalli hiyeh sourtou!!
sahtein wa hani2an lakom!!

Missing rudy 27 November 2013, 12:44

lol mowaten. the customs were brutally attacking protesters and you want to put the guy standing there doing nothing on trial.

Thumb _mowaten_ 27 November 2013, 13:59

rudy: i never said that, and my comment is pretty cler.
the very fact that you have to distort what i say to answer me is a sign of your lack of arguments.