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One year in gaol for wanting to celebrate Assad's death 

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June 22, 2000   


BEIRUT (AP) - A military court has sentenced a Lebanese man to one year in prison after he was found guilty of vilifying the late Syrian President Hafez Assad by telling friends and relatives Assad's death was cause for celebration, court officials said Wednesday.


In its sentence late Tuesday, the court also fined Salah Noureddine 900,000 pounds (dlrs 600), the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Noureddine, who has been jailed pending

trial, has two days to appeal.


Noureddine was arrested shortly after Assad's June 10 death for comments he made to friends and relatives.


Syria is the main power broker in Lebanon, though some Lebanese privately chafe at their neighbor's dominance.


Lebanese laws forbid harming Lebanon's relations with brotherly and friendly countries or defaming Arab leaders, the officials said.


Last week, Lebanese authorities banned nine British, French and U.S. newspapers and magazines for publishing reports about Assad's death considered insulting to the Syrian leader.


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