BEIRUT: The Special Tribunal for Lebanon confirmed May 29 as the date for the initial appearance of the Al-Akhbar editor-in-chief on charges of contempt after he did not attend the May 13 hearing. The hearing is scheduled for 3 p.m.
Ibrahim Al-Amin, Al-Akhbar’s editor-in-chief, said he was still undecided about attending the session, awaiting the STL’s response over questions he filed to the court.
“We sent questions asking for some clarifications from the tribunal, and we are waiting for the response,” Amin told The Daily Star. “I will take the appropriate decision in light of the answers I get."
The editor and the media organization, Akhbar Beirut S.A.L, as well as al-Jadeed TV and one of its senior editors, were charged by the tribunal with contempt and obstruction of justice after they published news reports that disclosed details of alleged court witnesses in former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri’s assassination case.
Al-Jadeed and Karma al-Khayyat, the deputy head of news at the television channel, pleaded not guilty in the first hearing on May 13, while Amin asked to postpone his initial appearances, saying he needed additional time to select legal counsel.
Amin said earlier that he would only attend the May 29 hearing if his concerns were addressed and procedures to guarantee justice were implemented by the court.
The STL said the accused may decide either to come to the seat of the tribunal in The Hague or could make their initial appearance by video-conference, provided that their legal counsel attends in person.
The hearings will be public, but the judge may decide to go into closed session if confidential matters need to be discussed, the STL said.