Al-Jadeed pleads not guilty in STL "contempt" case, Al-Akhbar session postponed

Al-Akhbar is currently going through a transitional phase whereby the English website is available for Archival purposes only. All new content will be published in Arabic on the main website (www.al-akhbar.com).

Al-Akhbar Management

Ibrahim al-Amin (second from the right) watches a live broadcast of his STL hearing from Al-Akhbar's Beirut office. (Photo: Haitham Moussawi)

By: Marc Abizeid

Published Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Lebanon's Al-Jadeed TV and its deputy director Karma Khayat on Tuesday pleaded "not guilty" after being charged with obstruction of justice and contempt by an international court set up to investigate the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

The Hague-based Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) last month announced that it had charged Al-Jadeed's deputy director Karma Khayat, Al-Akhbar's editor-in-chief Ibrahim al-Amin and their media companies for publishing a list of the prosecution's witnesses.

Amin's session was postponed to May 29 after the contempt judge granted his request for more time to prepare his defense. But Amin warned he may also choose not to attend the May 29 session if he is unable to assemble a proper defense counsel.

"Terrorizing the press"

Khayat was present in court Tuesday with her legal team as a judge read the charges against her.

"I came here before you in order to confront charges that touch my core principles and the principles of all journalists. Seeking the truth is a sacred right under all international conventions that guarantee the freedom of the press," Khayat told the court.

"I came here because the Lebanese people deserve the right to see a fair trial being conducted and instead of being used as a tool to terrorize the press," she added.

"I came here today because my government, instead of holding me accountable before the Lebanese courts, and instead of prosecuting me, my government unfortunately is used by outside forces. It relinquishes its sovereignty, and [in 2005] replaced Syrian tutelage with an international one."

Khayat, Al-Jadeed TV, and its parent company New TV SAL have each been charged with two counts of contempt and obstruction of justice over the broadcasting of reports in 2012 on potential STL witnesses.

"Willful interference"

The judge accused Khayat of instructing Al-Jadeed journalist Rami al-Amin to meet with purported witnesses that had been contacted by STL investigators with the prosecution team and learn what information the witnesses provided them with.

The results of Al-Jadeed's investigation were broadcast in five episodes in August 2012 before being uploaded to their website and YouTube channel.

"On August 10, 2012, the [STL] ordered Al-Jadeed to remove any confidential information related to the trial from their websites," but the orders were ignored, the judge told the court Tuesday.

"Khayat knew that broadcasting the episodes would undermine public confidence in the STL to protect the confidentiality of witnesses. Khayat knew that the failure to remove them violated the orders of the STL."

According to the charges, Amin and Khayat "knowingly and willfully interfer[ed] with the administration of justice by broadcasting and/or publishing information on purported confidential witnesses."

Prosecution "got it wrong"

Karim Khan, defense lawyer for Khayat and Al-Jadeed, told the court that this case was the first time in history an international tribunal indicts a legal company over criminal charges, insisting that the prosecution "got it wrong."

He also urged the prosecution to clarify if it was charging Al-Jadeed TV or its parent company, New TV SAL, in the case.

Khan told media after the session was adjourned outside the court that he expected the defendants would be acquitted of all charges.

"I am looking forward to seeing what evidence the prosecution has, or clearly doesn't have," he said. "We expect the defendants to be acquitted."

"What we see is an endemic problem that has infected the prosecutor where they don't even get the charges correct," Khan added. "For the first time in history a company is charged with criminal responsibility. That's never been done with any international court before."

Khan also announced his intention to file a motion to challenge the court's jurisdiction in charging companies.

Earlier, the court's contempt judge Nicola Lettieri said the charges against the media organization were "not concerned with their criticisms of the STL and its work," but related to the alleged interference in the courts proceedings.

Judge Lettieri ordered the prosecution to disclose all its evidence to the defense team, which said it had yet to receive a single document.

The prosecution pledged to transfer its material to the defense by May 30. The judge then adjourned Tuesday's session after setting June 16 as the date for Al-Jadeed to file its preliminary motions.

Not going

Amin chose not to participate in afternoon sessions scheduled for him and the newspaper after the STL failed to respond to the paper's request last week to postpone the session.

In court, the registrar explained that Amin's e-mail requests for more time were sent to the wrong inbox, and were only discovered on Monday.

The head of the STL defense office Francois Roux, who has been assisting Al-Akhbar with the case, told the judge that Amin was merely asking for his rights to assemble a defense counsel of his choosing and enough time to mount a proper defense.

Judge Lettieri granted the request for extension, setting the new date for Amin's appearance before the court to May 29 before adjourning Tuesday's session. But Amin announced immediately after the session that if he wasn't able to assemble a robust defense counsel he may skip that session too.

"If I wasn't able by May 29 to have a defense team that I feel comfortable with, I'm telling you from now that I'm not going to attend the May 29 session," he said.

"Illegitimate court"

The charges against Amin and Al-Akhbar relate to the paper's decision in January 2013 to publish the names of 32 witnesses belonging to the STL's prosecution.

In televised remarks, Amin said he stood by the paper's decision to publish the witness list, and rejected the legitimacy of the STL, which he maintains was created in violation of the Lebanon's constitution and international law through its "mandate ... to impose its power on all Lebanese institutions and authorities."

"Al-Jadeed and Al-Akhbar have adopted different strategies. Al-Jadeed decided to attend, though that doesn't mean that they believe in the court's legitimacy, and their presence is of course useful," Amin said.

"However Al-Akhbar decided not to attend because we don't even believe in the legitimacy of the court and its decisions in the first place."

"We asked for time so that we can make arrangements concerning the defense mechanism to make sure we have all the required documents and were ready to defend ourselves."

__title__Journalists at the Lebanese Press Syndicate watch a live stream of the STL hearing where Karma Khayat is seen on the screen in red.

Journalist solidarity

Amin joined other journalists and supporters of press freedom who gathered at the Lebanese Press Syndicate in Beirut to denounce the STL's charges against Al-Akhbar and Al-Jadeed.

"I do not expect much support from the Lebanese authorities," Amin told the crowd during a recess in Khayat's morning session.

"Al-Akhbar and Al-Jadeed are locked in a serious battle in the defense of freedom in Lebanon and the Arab world, and the problem lies in the Lebanese state that allows these abuses against the press," he said.

"The international community acts according to its interests, and the Lebanese media's interests today are to strengthen the laws and delegitimize this court."

If found guilty, Khayat and Amin could face up to seven years in prison and be fined up to 100,000 euros.

Al-Jadeed and Al-Akhbar have received the full backing of Lebanon's Press Syndicate, the Media and Telecommunications Committee in Parliament, and top political figures including former Prime Minister Najib Mikati who called on the STL not to get distracted from following through with its stated mission of uncovering who killed Hariri.

Comments

What stereotype that were the "ignorant peasants" peasants of what were free here in the arabia compared to the damn states, compared to Canada, compared to all of Europa, we have nothing to do with segragation and pollution, and the crusades, you damn white people create stereotyp[es and paint races under one brush instead of getting to know the history cause yall to lazy to read up on historyu and I don't mean during World War 2 which was fabrocated by the Jews , you guys don't even know the meaning of the word semite, and think Anime has to with Japanese Culture, a fucking catoon is part of 2000 years of Japanese Culture!? Are y'all on crack? Lol that's te only thong America has brought Gays, Drugs, and Alcohol everything qrong in the world. Just go an reddit and consume and exploit our culture into bits pieces that are "easy to grasps", if anything grammar and spelling don't matter.

Why should the. Resistance Axis be so concerned about being identified as the killer of Hariri ( and a dozen others ) .?
Isn't politics by IED a tradition in Lebanon?

I hate to appear to side with Barry on any issue, but I must say that the North Korean flag is a bit confusing. Why is that up?

If your white of course you'll be on Barry's side, no question. And the flag is none of your business. Stop focusing on details and see the bigger picture.

Don't jump to conclusions so fast. If any non Lebanese flag is going to be up, I'm wondering why it's not the Iranian flag.

You still didn't nswer me, you must be White, and why the hell do you care about something so stupid.

P.S. by the way "people are not people" and "we all bleed red", and "colourblind" is bullshi there is a difference and you must see that first before you spout your ignorant trash talk.

Foxy White liberal that adores all things white...

You stupid white person what the fuck do you know about history!? Whhat the fuck do you know about your government that only works for your interest while failing to acknowledge another that is clearly in front of your big noses? huh!? Did you forget about the slavery of the black that you caused or the fact your settiling on Native land and you still didn't pay them back!? Oh what taxes!? lol. Stupid white people thinking they got the answers habibi you were born yesterday , don't act like you know you already know the world's problems, read and go educated. And fuck you comparing Ibrahim Al aMin to the KKK you know nothing of him for you to make such stupid comments. Go back eating your stupid hamburgers and firing your guns at the sk saying "
"You are the chosen ones"...stupid white motherfucker.

you caused all the world problems from pollution to human segregation and "Ethnic cleansing" all in the name of Colonization and the Crusades don't tell em

you forgot that habibi? Lol

Allah ma3 Iran wa Allah ma3 North Korea, Inshallah heya kesrou7 la Israel wa America, wa Canada, wa Europa.

Inshallah heya kesrou7 la beida bi deanyeh

Your knowledge is like that of fly even lesser then the brain of an ant.

I hope the Lebenese Telecom and the sTL see;s my comment I hope they they see I am with the "Terroists" the people that for absolute right int the world

Dear editor/monitor,is it possible to screen out ,out of contexts and childish posts that distract,belittle the topics and drag this forum down with derogatory names? I wonder how tolerant this forum would be if anyone cared about
Or mentioned the above person's skin colour.

Dear Huasyn ,my my what a temper.
"The Crusades"? are you for real? How far back In history do you want to go back to make a "point"? Following your twisted reasoning, then I have a "beef" with Islam, the colonialist opportunist movement from the 7th century, which abandoned Its path of spiritual Idealism and turned the Ideology of spreading Islam to an earthy Ideal of plundering and enslaving all other peoples In their quest for riches and empire.
** sounds silly? exactly. Same as your rant. Luckily for us all, your "knowledge" only goes as far as the crusades...Don't post Allah's name In the same post when you swear like a hanzir.
Btw, how are things back home? Hafiz Muhammad Saeed still brainwashing gullible minds as yours with conspiracy theories and hatred?

Go back home habib you dn't know you shit, I bet either a ) you are white, or B) your a white washed arab which is terrible, Go look at Santa Cluse even cocoaol and see what White people say about that look at the fact white Culture is filled iwth bullshit, their whole life is bullshit,a nd why are you targettign me for my post!? Becuase I told it like it is [...] see it as a fact you can't run away from it. Go and see what White Culture really is, you think they have it better over there? their the exact same as here, but here their honest they know it's bullshit, you wanna real life? Go live in a farm in Jnoub and you realize what is real life! They're only White Ashkenzi Jews get praised and White Christians. look at the Blacks! They talk about classes and exploitations forget about the poor white people look at the blacks they live in shit holes compared to them look t the Natives!? Do you think you can put yourself to the equivalent of a White Man? Really? You must be o S and see what colonialism see what consumeristic capitalist culture did, ctop acting like you know your shit. Just because your too dumb too see the obvious that doesn't mean everyone else. Arabs have done shit, but at least as far as the islamic empire you can't put your finger and say all what about the Shia3's? Are you forgetting? I didn't do shit, neither did my family or my ancestors who btw are Black :), far did colonial befoer you stick your nose into this nd think your being "Heroic" and marginalize my experiences into close thin air [...]. Stop commenting lik e as if you know my answers and doing the exact thing I hate habibi you know nothing. [...] there is good and bad in this world, go to Vancouver, go to any Western territory and know that if your not West, White, and Christian prepare to eat shit unles sit's academic even then you will. Sho ya3ne!? What do you mean Hate speech!? Arabs didn't cause segregation and Capitalistic exploitment [...]. Arabs have higher knowledge and was the World's Capital center in Science and Math because of Islam sho did you forget that habib!? Look at Whites caused all for the sake of White sUpremacy. [...]

I shouldn't even be wasting my time with this you're clearly a Ja3Ja3ian , it's proven you will kiss the feet of Western, when you don't realize Santa doesn't come to Middle East lol, go study about the history and the concept of Coca cola [...]. btw that guy is Pakistani not Arab, lol you must be White what the hell are you talking about? White people have no credibility when it comes to arguments, [...]

Btw I'm sure your white. Go back eating your pork chops :)

This what a White person told me. "santa doesn't come to the Middle East." You figure that one out.

You guys are flying the North Korean flag in your office. The North Korean flag.
Why not the swastika? The NKs are worse than the Nazis in terms of percentages of their own population that they murder.
No wonder you believe in death and wish it upon your enemies.
And you complain about the Jews? Really?
Go visit that horrible place. Speak with defectors. Speak with people who survived its gulag.
Despicable.

the North Korean flag should be no surprize
Note that across a wide ideological range
the thug states show great affection for each other
Kim killed his uncle with " 120 dogs execution "
Gotta love a fellow thug!

Fuckin White Boy, piss off you know nothing. Go back eating your fried donuts and shooting your coloured neighbour and say "Freedom in the name of 'Murica" stupid ass white boy. lol Bush the liberator,

Thank you for being a stereotype of a stereotype of a stereotype.
By the way, the Dear Leader always lectured about using bad language. You have not read your Juche. I am turning you in to your local committee leader.

Btw you should preach to me about cusing before anything else teach your people how not ot cuss out someone of colour, and say "deragatory" bullshit, just cause you have to be proper to how your "different" doesn't mean the whole world has to ;)

Again, the fact that your judging means your racist,a nd the fact you are aware of the stereotypes and using them as a your basis to judge on an entire group of people, means your racist, and you whites have no palce in Eastern Politics, Black Politics, or in Islam so shut up and go order your Macdonalds while you all sit on the couch and watchin T.V. while on Reddit reading trashy white things, you cannot forget the countless amounts of genocide you caused for the sake of Christianity and Colonization. You still haven't paid back for them yet, nor did 4000 year of slavery from my Grandmother, or did you pay back the Natives for settiling on the land. If anything you should be the last one talking about politics.
You whites are ont op of the Pyramid while you watch everyone die. Grabbing resources from Africa and ME to support fantasy way fo life which is exists through the backs of us!

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