Lebanese film director detained for visiting Israel

Lebanese film director Ziad Doueiri was  detained upon arrival in Lebanon over previous visits to Israel.

Lebanese film director Ziad Doueiri was briefly detained upon arrival in Lebanon over previous visits to Israel and is undergoing further questioning on Monday, his ex-wife and Lebanese officials said.

It was not clear why the Paris-based Doueiri, director of the award-winning civil war film “West Beirut,” was detained Sunday night, as he has visited Lebanon several times since traveling to Israel.

Lebanon and Israel are in a state of war and Beirut bans its citizens from visiting Israel or having business dealings with Israelis.

The judicial officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations, said a military tribunal will question Doueiri on Monday.

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 appear before a military court the following day for further questioning, she said.

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“Once he comes out we will know what happened with him,” Touma said. “We don’t know the reason, and even when they stopped him yesterday they did not give a reason.”

Culture Minister Ghattas Khoury meanwhile 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.”

Doueiri’s previous film, “The Attack,” was banned in Lebanon and most Arab countries. The movie 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 was filmed in Israel and featured several Israeli actors.

By: AP