May 9, 2002
Lebanon has dropped charges against a local publisher of the International Herald Tribune stemming from an advertisement placed by the Anti-Defamation League that expressed solidarity with Israel.
Jamil Mroue, publisher of the Lebanese newspaper The Daily Star, was charged with "stirring racism" following publication of the ADL solidarity ad on April 5. The Daily Star is inserted into the IHT in Lebanon under a joint agreement between the two English-language newspapers.
The case was dismissed on May 9 by Judge Abdelrahim Hammoud, according to AP and Reuters wire reports. However, the Beirut-based prosecutor has not ruled out the possibility of further charges, and the case remains open.
Under Lebanese law, a foreign publication distributing in Lebanon cannot publish items deemed propaganda for Israel. ADL's solidarity ad, with the headline, "Israel we are with you. Now more than ever.," appeared in various newspapers in the U.S., Israel and in all countries where the Paris-based IHT is distributed.
ADL has spoken out against the charges, saying that the Lebanese government is attempting to muzzle press freedoms when it comes to expressions of support for Israel. Lebanon technically considers itself in a state of war with Israel.