The Lebanese judiciary referred on Friday the case against the Nidaa al-Watan newspaper to the Press Offenses Court.
Judge Ziad Abu Haidar had charged the daily, its editor-in-chief Beshara Charbel and managing director George Berbary with insulting the president over a recent headline, “New ambassadors in Baabda… Welcome to the Khamenei republic.”
The case had sparked uproar in Lebanon with supporters criticizing the judiciary for infringing on freedom of expression and the freedom of the press.
The editors syndicate had demanded that the case be referred to the Press Offenses Court because it has jurisdiction over such affairs.
The syndicate hailed the judiciary for complying with its demand, adding that relations between the press, media and judiciary must be based on mutual respect in service of the nation.
Lawyer and MP Butros Harb, who represented Nidaa al-Watan, said that the defendants were critical of Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah’s stances, not the president.