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Customs police attack journalists from AlJadeed News Station
BEIRUT: A violent brawl between security officers at the Downtown Beirut Customs office and TV reporters from local station Al-Jadeed erupted into a mass protest Tuesday evening after four reporters were brought in for interrogation following the fight.
Al-Jadeed footage showed a reporter from its TV crew using a megaphone sometime between noon and 2 p.m. to demand an interview with the head of the Customs General Directorate about alleged corruption.
Fighting then broke out between Customs security personnel and the TV crew in the middle of Riad al-Solh Street, a strip in Downtown where the country’s major banks are located.
The station said four of its staff – Riyad Qobeissi, Ali Shreim, Adib Farhat and Ali Khalife – were detained following the incident before being referred to the public prosecutor’s office. The Central Criminal Investigation unit interrogated the journalists for several hours before releasing them around 7 p.m.
Speaking to media after their release outside the Justice Palace in Adlieh, the journalists told Al-Jadeed that Customs security had beaten them and that they had been threatened by the man they wished to interview, Director of Customs Shafiq Merhi.
Qobeissi said it was time to “lift the political cover for smugglers,” a reference to Merhi’s alleged role in purported corruption at Beirut’s international airport that Al-Jadeed was to detail in a show due to be aired Tuesday. The episode was postponed in light of events.
Qobeissi called on Merhi to resign “with dignity.”
Both the Customs General Directorate and Al-Jadeed television filed complaints at the prosecutor’s office.
Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Lebanon-News/2013/Nov-27/239042-violent...
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)