Atallah, an editor of the daily Al-Nahar, was arrested without warrant at his Beirut home during a wave of arrests against suspected Christian opposition figures that began after a van carrying Syrian workers was attacked by gunfire near the northern city of Tripoli on Dec. 18. The Ministry of Defense held him incommunicado for seven days until transferring his case to a military court for investigation into possible security crimes against the state. Lebanese government officials claimed that Atallah’s arrest was not related to his journalistic work, but during the initial investigation, officials focused their questioning on a series of articles Atallah had written for Al-Nahar. On Dec. 31, CPJ wrote to Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri, urging Atallah’s release. He was released on Jan. 6, 1997, after posting bail of 7 million Lebanese lira (US$4,000). His case remains under investigation.