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The New Arab

French-Lebanese filmmaker walks free after military court appearance

Doueiri was freed after a brief appearance in court [AFP]

Date of publication: 11 September, 2017

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French-Lebanese filmmaker Kamel El Basha walked out of a Lebanese military tribunal a free man, after the court decided not to press charges over a movie filmed in Israel.
French-Lebanese filmmaker Ziad Doueiri walked out of a Lebanese military court a free man on Monday, after a tribunal decided not to press charges over a controversial movie partly shot in Israel five years ago.

Doueiri was briefly detained and had his passports confiscated due to 2012 film The Attack, about a Palestinian man living in Tel Aviv.

His lawyer said Doueiri spent several hours in front of the military tribunal before being set free.

"My client was released. No charges have been filed against him," Najib Lyan, Doueiri's lawyer, told reporters.

He said that the case would be "definitively closed" although another source told AFP that the fimmaker could still be prosecuted by an army court "for the crime of entering an enemy country without prior authorisation".

Doueiri was detained for several hours after he landed in Beirut airport this weekend, returning from Venice where his latest movie The Insult picked up an award.

Doueiri had his French and Lebanese passports confiscated by authorities and was told he must appear before a military court this week.

"They held me at the airport for two-and-a-half hours. They released me after confiscating my French and Lebanese passports," Doueiri told AFP.

"I have to appear (Monday) at 9am before a military tribunal for an investigation into the charges," he said at the time.

The charges relate to the 2012 film The Attack, which was shot in Israel and has faced criticism from pro-Palestine activists in Lebanon.

The film was banned in Lebanon in 2013 due to its connections with Israel, with Beirut banning citizens from visiting the country.

The Attack is based on a novel by Yasmina Khadra, about a Palestinian surgeon in Tel Aviv whose wife carries out a suicide bomb attack.

It is still unclear why the director was arrested now and who was behind the legal action.

"I am profoundly hurt. I came back to Lebanon with a prize from Venice. The Lebanese police have authorised the broadcast of my film (The Insult). I have no idea who is responsible for what has happened," Doueiri said.

"We will find out at court who is behind this affair."

Doueiri's The Insult won a prize at Venice Film Festival for Palestinian actor Kamel El Basha's lead role in the film.

Lebanon banned Wonder Woman from being screened this year due to the casting of Gal Gadot as lead actor.

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