STL appoints lawyer to defend Al-Akhbar, Ibrahim al-Amin

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Al-Akhbar Management

Published Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The defense office for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) has named a lawyer to defend Al-Akhbar and its editor-in-chief Ibrahim al-Amin who have been charged with obstruction of justice and contempt.

Antonios Abou Kasm, a professor of international law at Lebanese University, has been appointed to defend the paper and Amin in a case related to the publication of a secret witness list in January 2013.

Amin told the The Hague-based court during an initial appearance before it via video link in May that he will take no part in the trial, and refuses to have a defense counsel appointed to him.

Francois Roux, the head of the defense office in the STL case of five men accused of killing former Lebanese premier Rafik Hariri, had argued to the judge that Amin had the right to refuse counsel.

But Lettieri threatened to take actions against the STL defense office if it failed to appoint a lawyer to defend Amin and the newspaper.

Amin walked out of a May 29 session after telling Lettieri that he does not recognize the legitimacy of the court and would thus boycott the trial.

Lettieri said he interpreted Amin's remarks as a not guilty plea, and will move forward with the case.

The STL has come under fire by media rights groups after announcing in April that it charged Amin, deputy director of Al-Jadeed TV Karma Khayat, and their news organizations with obstruction of justice and contempt.

Prosecutors accuse the journalists of “knowingly and willfully interfering with the administration of justice” by publishing secret information about STL witnesses.

If found guilty, Amin and Khayat could face up to seven years in prison and a 100,000 euro fine.

(Al-Akhbar)

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