Suleiman Asks General Prosecutor to Explain to STL Lebanon's Commitment to Freedom of Mediaإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
President Michel Suleiman requested that General Prosecutor Judge Samir Hammoud explain to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon the country's commitment to freedom of the media.
He requested that he explain the extent to which Lebanon respects laws on the freedom of the media.
The president made his request after holding talks with the general prosecutor on the STL's summons of al-Jadeed television and al-Akhbar newspaper journalists on charges of “contempt and obstruction of justice.”
Suleiman also asked Hammoud to inquire about the extent to which Lebanese laws fall in line with the summons.
The STL announced that it has summoned Karma Mohammed Tahsin al-Khayat from al-Jadeed television, as well as the station’s parent company New TV S.A.L., and Ibrahim Mohammed al-Amin from al-Akhbar, as well as the newspaper’s parent company Akhbar Beirut S.A.L. to appear before it on two counts of Contempt and Obstruction of Justice.
The STL's spokesperson Marten Youssef said via Twitter on Wednesday that the journalists' trial will take place before an independent judge.
Information Minister Ramzi Jreij said of the summons: “Investigations with al-Jadeed and al-Akhbar will prove their innocence.”
He warned the two journalists of failing to appear before the STL's hearing, saying: “This move will lead to repercussions including the issuance of arrest warrants.”
Several lawmakers voiced their solidarity on Wednesday with the journalists and slammed the STL for its actions.
Hizbullah's MP Hassan Fadlallah said that the move is an assault on the freedom of the Lebanese, warning: “Any journalist uncovering the corruption of the tribunal will have the same fate as al-Khayat and al-Amin.”
In April last year, a list of 167 names of so-called witnesses for the former premier Rafik Hariri trial was published by a previously unknown group identified as "Journalists for the Truth".
The group said it wanted to "unveil the corruption" of the STL.
Both al-Akhbar and al-Jadeed published the list.
The STL, established at Lebanon's request, seeks to try five members of Hizbullah for the attack that killed former PM Hariri and 22 others on February 14, 2005, in Beirut.