Lebanon: TV crew harassed by Hezbollah‎

AUGUST 15, 2008
Posted August 27, 2008

Marcos Losekann and Paulo Pimentel, TV Globo
Tariq Saleh, freelance

Saleh, 33, a Brazilian producer, told CPJ that on August 15, along with reporter Marcos Losekann and cameraman Paulo Pimentel, both working for TV Globo, were arrested by Hezbollah militants in Dahiye, in the southern suburbs of Beirut while doing a story on a local restaurant owner.

In order to report in areas under Hezbollah control, journalists have to get permission from the party. Saleh said the crew tried to get permission from Hezbollah’s press office, but they were told that it would take two days. Under pressure to catch a plane in the next day, the crew decided to go ahead and film without permission since “the man from the restaurant agreed so and we would do it inside his property,” he told CPJ.

But after around half an hour of working on location, two militants from Hezbollah showed up in a car and ordered them to stop filming and arrested them. The crew was driven in a van with covered windows to an unknown location, separated from each other, and interrogated. The captors also confiscated all the crew’s equipment and belongings.

Saleh said the crew went through three different interrogations that lasted for more than three hours. He said they were filmed by a Hezbollah militant “from the moment we were arrested until we were released.”

Footage taken by Pimentel and posted on Globo shows the journalists being rushed into a car by Hezbollah militants. After five hours, they were taken to a road on the outskirts of Beirut and ordered to take a taxi back to the city. Their belongings were returned to them.

“They didn’t attack us physically but they did morally and we were under constant psychological pressure.” Saleh told CPJ. “Our credentials form the Ministry of Information were of no use to Hezbollah.”