BEIRUT: Al-Akhbar and its editor Ibrahim al-Amin will appear before the Special Tribunal for Lebanon during today’s hearing for contempt, the newspaper said.
“We decided to use the international tribunal as a pulpit to accuse the tribunal and prosecute it in the name of conscience, morality, freedom of the press, national sovereignty, resistance and the spirit of the law, as well as our central issue, Palestine,” Amin said in an editorial on the newspaper’s website.
Amin is accused of contempt of court and obstruction of justice after two articles published in January last year that disclosed the identities of alleged court witnesses.
Amin and Al-Akhbar’s initial hearing is scheduled for 4 pm Beirut time, during which he will be formally charged with the crimes, ahead of a trial that could take months to begin. Contempt Judge Nicola Lettieri will ask him to enter a plea before the court.
The editor of the pro-Hezbollah daily was initially supposed to appear before the court in mid-May, but asked for a postponement to appoint a defense lawyer.
In a letter earlier this week, Amin outlined to the court a raft of concerns over his prosecution, including fears for his personal safety and questions over the STL’s right to prosecute journalists.
The STL is tasked with prosecuting those responsible for the Feb 14 2005 bombing that killed former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and 21 others, and plunged Lebanon into political turmoil.
The U.N.-backed court has indicted five members of Hezbollah in connection with the attack. It will resume their trial in absentia in The Hague next month.