BEIRUT

Lebanon News

MPs urge government to act against STL decision

From left, MPs Ghazi Zeaiter, Hasan Fadlallah and Ali Ammar leave the Parliament in Beirut, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)

BEIRUT: Hezbollah MP Hasan Fadlallah and other lawmakers Wednesday urged the government to act quickly against the Special Tribunal for Lebanon's decision to summon two local editors accused of contempt and disrupting justice.

Meanwhile, Information Minister Ramzi Joreige said he stands in solidarity with the two summoned journalists, but called on them to show up in court and defend themselves against the accusations.

"The STL is attacking the freedom of the press and today we, representing parliamentary blocs, are here to defend Lebanon, whose sovereignty was violated," Fadlallah, surrounded by fellow MPs from the March 8 coalition, told reporters in Parliament.

"We call on the government to act quickly and efficiently to protect institutions," he added.

The U.N.-backed court summoned last week the editors of Al-Akhbar newspaper and Al-Jadeed television, accusing the two of contempt and disrupting justice after the media outlets published a list of alleged names of witnesses.

"Ibrahim Amine and Karma Khayyat are the targets today, but others might be in the future," Fadlallah said.

Joreige, who is close to the Kataeb Party and the former head of the Beirut Bar Association, said he would take the issue up in Cabinet.

“We stand in solidarity with the media, but the media is subject to the law. I support absolute freedom and the media is only limited by the law,” said the minister.

“There are a lot of objections to summoning the journalists from al-Jadeed and al-Akhbar; they should express their objection in court," he said, adding that he "sensed" they were ready to appear before the Tribunal.

“There is no doubt that I support the media and I will support them and take the required steps concerning the case and discuss the issue in Cabinet, but my advice to the two journalists is to respond to the summons,” Joreige said. “I am sure they can prove their innocence.”

 

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