Lebanon deports Reuters correspondent after questioning him on arrival at Beirut airport
Khalidi said, Suleiman al-Khalidi, a Jordanian citizen, flew to Beirut on Aug. 2 but was stopped by officials at passport control, who took him aside for questioning and asked him to surrender his company laptop and cell phone.
Citing Reutersm the Algulf mentioned, the authorities gave no reason for the question.
After Khalidi refused to hand over his equipment, he was transferred to a deportation center before being sent back to Jordan the next day.
Reuters wrote to the Lebanese authorities to reverse the decision.
A Reuters spokesperson said: “We have protested to Lebanese government officials over the treatment of Reuters journalist Suleiman al-Khalidi and are asking for more information from these authorities, who have not explained their action.”
“Suliman’s reporting has been independent and impartial, in accordance with the Trust Principles.
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Reuters condemns any restrictions placed on journalists reporting the news in the public interest.”
In its response, the Lebanese Directorate-General for Security said the Lebanese law ensured a free media environment. It did not say whether Khalidi’s eviction would be revoked.
“The ban on his entry into Lebanon is a purely sovereign decision of the Lebanese state and has no connection with his work or profession,” the letter said. The letter described the decision as a refusal of entry rather than a deportation because officials had not put an entry stamp on Khalidi’s passport.
It should be noted, Khalidi, Reuters’ chief correspondent for Jordan and Syria, has worked for the international news agency for 25 years, covering Jordan and the Syrian conflict, and
covering Iraq, Lebanon, Libya and the Gulf.