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Al Jadeed S.A.L. & Ms Khayat (STL-14-05)

In August 2012, Al Jadeed TV broadcast five reports entitled “The Witnesses of the International Tribunal,” in which journalists approached individuals they alleged were confidential witnesses in the Ayyash et al. case.  On 10 August 2012, the Pre-Trial Judge in Ayyash et al. issued a confidential order directing Al Jadeed not to disseminate confidential information alleged to be related to purported witnesses, and to remove any such information from its website and other sources.

In October 2013, Ms Karma Mohamed Tahsin Al Khayat and three other Al Jadeed employees voluntarily attended video-recorded interviews at the request of the amicus curiae investigator appointed to investigate the “Witnesses of the International Tribunal” reports.

On 31 January 2014, Ms Khayat and Al Jadeed S.A.L. were each charged with two counts of contempt for allegedly knowingly and wilfully interfering with the administration of justice.  Both pled not guilty on 13 May 2014. Ms Khayat voluntarily attended her initial appearance hearing.  At this hearing, both Ms Khayat and Al Jadeed pled not guilty to the two counts against them.

The Defence challenged the Tribunal’s jurisdiction over legal persons on 16 June 2014.  On 24 July 2014, the Contempt Judge found that the Tribunal lacked jurisdiction over legal persons (i.e., the corporate media entity Al Jadeed S.A.L.).  An Appeals Panel overturned this decision by a two-to-one majority on 2 October 2014, finding that the case could proceed against Al Jadeed.

The amicus curiae Prosecutor filed his pre-trial brief on 1 September 2014.  The Defence filed its pre-trial brief on 22 September 2014.

The Trial began on 16 April 2015 with opening statements from the amicus curiae Prosecutor and Defence.  The amicus curiae Prosecutor presented his case on 16-17 and 20-22 April 2015.  The Defence presented its case from 12-14 May 2015.

The amicus curiae Prosecutor filed his final trial brief on 8 June 2015.  The Defence filed its final trial brief on 16 June 2015.

Closing arguments took place on 18-19 June 2015.

The Contempt Judge rendered his judgment on 18 September 2015.  Both Accused were found not guilty of count 1 of the order in lieu of an indictment (“knowingly and wilfully interfering with the administration of justice by broadcasting and/or publishing information on purported confidential witnesses in the Ayyash et al. case, thereby undermining public confidence in the Tribunal's ability to protect the confidentiality of information about, or provided by, witnesses or potential witnesses”).  Al Jadeed was found not guilty, and Ms Khayat was found guilty, of count 2 of the order in lieu of indictment (“knowingly and wilfully interfering with the administration of justice by failing to remove from Al Jadeed TV's website and Al Jadeed TV's YouTube channel information on purported confidential witnesses in the Ayyash et al. case, thereby violating the Order issued by the Pre-Trial Judge in the Ayyash et al. case on 10 August 2012”).  On 28 September 2015, following oral submissions by the parties, the Contempt Judge sentenced Ms Khayat to a €10,000 fine for her conviction under count 2.

The amicus curiae Prosecutor announced on 29 September 2015 that he would appeal the acquittal of Ms Khayat on count 1 of the order in lieu of an indictment and the acquittal of Al Jadeed on counts 1 and 2.  He also appealed the sentence.

The Defence filed its notice of appeal of Ms Khayat’s conviction under count 2 on 21 October 2015.

The amicus curiae Prosecutor filed an appeal brief on 20 October 2015 (regarding Al Jadeed’s full acquittal and Ms Khayat’s acquittal on count 1) and 5 November 2015 (concerning Ms Khayat’s sentence).  The Defence filed its appeal brief concerning Ms Khayat’s conviction under count 2 on 5 November 2015.

On 8 March 2016, the Appeals Panel reversed Ms Khayat’s conviction under count 2, confirmed her acquittal under count 1, and confirmed and Al Jadeed’s acquittal on both counts.

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