(WOMENSENEWS) — Raghida Dergham, a well-known New York-based commentator on Middle East issues, has been indicted by a Lebanese military court for “dealing with the enemy” because she spoke at a U.S. seminar that also included a former Israeli military official.
Dergham, a Lebanese American, is the New York correspondent for the London-based Al-Hayat, an Arabic language newspaper, and one of the very few Arab women’s voices on the Middle East. She is a member of the board of directors of the International Women’s Media Foundation, which protested the indictment, as did the U.S. State Department, the Committee to Protect Journalists and other organizations.
The indictment was handed down on March 21 but only recently came to light.
The indictment cited Dergham’s appearance with Uri Lubrani, a former coordinator of Lebanon policy for the Israeli Defense Ministry, at a seminar in Washington, D.C., by the Institute for Near East Policy.
“This latest move in a year-long campaign of harassment against Dergham is unwarranted and suggests political reasons for this attempt to silence her,” said Carole Simpson of ABC News and Bailey Morris-Eck of the Reuters Foundation, co-chairs of the International Women’s Media Foundation, in a letter to President Emile Lahoud of Lebanon.
“Why is she being accused of what is essentially treason when her only offense was to appear on a panel and argue vigorously for the Lebanese position?” the letter asked.
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