File - A pre-trial conference for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013. (The Daily Star/STL, HO)
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The Lebanese government Thursday transferred $36 million to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, its annual budget contribution, as the Hague-based court moved forward with the controversial trials of local journalists.Hezbollah strongly opposes the court, which has indicted five members of the party in connection with the 2005 bombing that killed former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and 21 others.Lebanese civil society and politicians have expressed their opposition to the cases, saying they would have a chilling effect on freedom of the press in Lebanon and urged the court to focus on its core mandate of finding Hariri's killers.They also criticize the court for failing to prosecute Western news outlets that disclosed sensitive Hariri investigation details.
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