Karma al-Khayat’s defense team filed an appeal Wednesday against the Al-Jadeed television executive’s contempt of court conviction by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.
Last month, Judge Nicola Lettieri found the Al-Jadeed vice chairwoman had intentionally ignored a court order to remove videos posted on the TV channel’s website and YouTube page of a five-report series on tribunal witnesses. She was sentenced to a 10,000 euros fine.
In its appeal, the defense argued the judge had committed several legal and factual errors that resulted in the miscarriage of justice and invalidated Khayat’s conviction.
It noted that when concluding the August 2012 court order had been violated, the judge had exclusively relied on Al-Jadeed journalist Rami al-Amin’s testimony that the videos were available on the channel’s website until at least October 2013.
The defense also argued that the judge had reversed the burden of proof when concluding that the only reasonable inference was that Khayat had deliberately ignored the emailed court order to be able to deny knowledge of its existence.
The judge further reversed the burden of proof, it argued, when concluding she had deliberately ignored the email because there was no evidence the Al-Jadeed email server had malfunctioned, and Khayat had been actively using her email account during the period the order was sent.
The defense contended the judge did not give appropriate weight to all relevant evidence on the record, and the prosecution had ultimately failed to prove Khayat’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The case centers on the “Witnesses of the Special Tribunal” series broadcast in August 2012, which the court found had undermined the tribunal’s protection of confidential witnesses.
In January 2014, Khayat and Al-Jadeed TV were each charged with one count of contempt of court and one count of obstruction of justice. Khayat has criticized the case as an attack on press freedom.
The STL is charged with prosecuting the people involved in the February 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.