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Issues of "Al-Dustour" and "Al Badil" newspapers confiscated by security agency following article on Lebanese singer's murder

(ANHRI/IFEX) - Security service agents recently confiscated copies of the independent newspapers "Al-Dustour" and "Al Badil" from stores, following the newspapers' publication of a story about an Egyptian businessman's connection to the murder of the well-known Lebanese singer Suzanne Tamim in Dubai, a city in the United Arab Emirates.

The seizure of the newspapers from markets by security agents is a crime that requires investigation. It cannot be justified by rumours about a decision of the Prosecutor General to ban the article or the newspapers. A newspaper cannot be confiscated in a state that respects press freedom and right to circulate information, without notifying the concerned newspaper in advance and obtaining a court order forbidding the publication of the article.

ANHRI has inquired as to whether there is in fact any court resolution that prohibits the publication of the article in question that appeared in "Al-Dustour" and "Al Badil" newspapers. The editor in chief of "Ad-Dustour", Ibrahim Mansur, as well as the editorial manager of "Al Badil", Khalid Al Balshi, both denied receiving any official decision concerning a publication ban, or even notification of a hearing to discuss the possibility of such a ruling.

ANHRI notes that the confiscation of two daily newspapers, without any ruling banning their publication raises, once again, the question about the right to circulate information and the need for a law to oblige the government and newspapers to respect certain norms, rather that leaving decisions about publications to the security apparatus.

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