30 July 1999


Journalists prosecuted over controversial interview

Incident details

Melhem Karam and Saïd Nassereddine



(RSF/IFEX) - In a letter to Lebanese Prime Minister Salim Hoss, RSF has
expressed its concern about legal proceedings launched against individuals
in charge of the daily newspaper "Al-Bayrak" and the magazine "The Lebanon
Report". Without commenting on the substance of the matter, RSF expressed
"its concern about a procedure which might lead to the issuing of prison
sentences for press law violations." The dates for the separate trials have
yet to be officially announced. The accused could face prison sentences of
up to two months.

Further to a request by the Ministry of Information, the public prosecutor
for the Beirut Appeals Court launched legal proceedings against Melhem Karam
and Saïd Nassereddine, respectively editor and editor-in-chief of the daily
"Al-Bayrak". Karam is also president of the Order of Journalists and editor
of the "La Revue du Liban" and "Al-Hawadith" weeklies. They are accused of
having published an interview with Robert Hatem, who published a book titled
"From Israel to Damascus" ("D'Israël à Damas") under the pseudonym Cobra.
The publication and redistribution of this book are banned in Lebanon. Legal
proceedings have also been launched against Paul Elie Salem and Jamil Kamel
Mroué, respectively owner and editor-in-chief of the monthly "The Lebanon
Report", for publishing excerpts from the book.


Reporters Without Borders
47, rue Vivienne
75002 Paris, France
rsf (@) rsf.org

Fax:+33 1 45 23 11 51

IFEX members working in this country 3

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