BEIRUT: Lebanon’s Military Court pressed no charges against Lebanese-French film director Ziad Doueiri who was questioned on Monday for several hours over a previous visit to Israel.
Doueiri, who was briefly held by airport security upon his arrival in Beirut the day before, had both his Lebanese and French passports returned after leaving the military court.
It was not clear why the Paris-based Doueiri, director of the award-winning civil war film "West Beirut," was being investigated Monday despite several previous visits to Lebanon since traveling to Israel in 2011 where he filmed parts of his previous movie, "The Attack."
A judicial source told Annahar that Doueiri had requested permission from security forces to visit Israel to film “The Attack” but received no response.
The source said Doueiri could not be charged for an offense committed more than three years ago, according to Lebanese law.
His film, “The Attack,” which was banned in Lebanon and most Arab countries, is about a Palestinian surgeon living in Tel Aviv who discovers that a suicide attack in the city that killed 17 people was carried out by his wife. The movie featured several Israeli actors.
Doueiri's latest film, "The Insult," opens in Lebanon this week, after winning the best actor award at the Venice Film Festival earlier this month.
Joelle Touma, Doueiri's ex-wife and co-writer on "The Insult," told reporters outside the Military Court in Beirut that he had come to Beirut for the opening of the film. She said he was stopped at the airport, where he was questioned for about 90 minutes before authorities confiscated his Lebanese and French passports. He was allowed to leave on condition he appears before a military court the following day for further questioning, she said.
Doueiri’s brief detention sparked controversy over social media. While several Lebanese officials rushed to his defense, critics accused him of giving up on the Palestinian cause.
Culture Minister Ghattas Khoury tweeted in Arabic that "Ziad Doueiri is a great Lebanese director who has been honored around the world. Respecting and honoring him is a must #Lebanon."
“I wonder if you'd still support Ziad doueiri's ingenuity if Israel killed one of your family members like it did to thousands of innocent people,” @NottMhammad tweeted.
An-Nahar is not responsible for the comments that users post below. We kindly ask you to keep this space a clean and respectful forum for discussion.