Lebanon deports a Reuters journalist after questioning him

Lebanon deports a Reuters journalist after questioning him
Lebanon deports a Reuters journalist after questioning him

Lebanon deported a Reuters reporter after questioning him upon his arrival at Beirut airport at the start of a press assignment last month, and detained him overnight before being put on a plane bound for Jordan.
Suleiman al-Khalidi, a Jordanian citizen, said he traveled to Beirut on August 2, but passport control officials stopped him for questioning and asked him to hand over his Reuters computer and smartphone.
The authorities did not give any reason for this request. After al-Khalidi refused to hand over his equipment, he was transferred to a deportation center before being returned to Jordan the next day.
Reuters sent a letter to the Lebanese authorities requesting to cancel the decision.
A Reuters spokesman said: “We have lodged our protest with Lebanese government officials over the treatment of (Reuters) journalist Suleiman Al-Khalidi, and we are seeking more information from those authorities, who have not provided any explanation for the action they have taken.”
He added: “Suleiman’s reports are independent and impartial in line with the principles of trust. Reuters denounces any restrictions imposed on journalists seeking to report news in the public interest.
In its response, the General Directorate of Public Security in Lebanon said that Lebanese law guarantees a free media environment. It did not say whether Khalidi’s deportation would be cancelled.
“The decision taken by the General Security regarding Suleiman Al-Khalidi not to grant him an entry permit to Lebanon is a sovereign decision par excellence, pertaining to the Lebanese state and has nothing to do with his work or his profession,” the letter said.
The letter described the decision as a refusal to enter rather than a deportation because officials did not put an entry stamp on Khalidi’s passport.
Al-Khalidi, a senior correspondent in Jordan and Syria, has been working for Reuters for 25 years. Al-Khalidi covers Jordan and the Syrian conflict, as well as Iraq, Lebanon, Libya and the Gulf.

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