He could face the death penalty

Lebanese director faces tribunal at home for filming in Israel

Ziad Doueiri reportedly detained at Beirut airport for ‘dealing with the enemy,’ 5 years after release of his film ‘The Attack’

Ziad Doueiri (center) with actors Ali Suliman (right) and Reymond Amsalem (left), on the set of 'The Attack' (courtesy/Ziad Doueiri)
Ziad Doueiri (center) with actors Ali Suliman (right) and Reymond Amsalem (left), on the set of 'The Attack' (courtesy/Ziad Doueiri)

A Lebanese film director was brought before a military court in Lebanon Monday to face charges related to a 2012 movie he made that was partially filmed in Israel.

Ziad Doueiri was arrested on Sunday when he landed at Beirut airport, the local blog “A Separate State of Mind” reported. He was charged with “dealing with the enemy,” and authorities took away his French and Lebanese passports.

According to the report, Doueiri’s arrest came after “a complaint was filed,” although it was not clear why the issue resurfaced so long after the fact, or who filed the complaint. The director had returned to Lebanon from the Venice Film Festival and was set to release his latest work “The Insult,” which was filmed in Lebanon, in the coming days.

Doueiri, 53, filmed parts of his movie, “The Attack,” in Israel, where he stayed for 11 months, breaking a Lebanese law that forbids its citizens from traveling to Israel.

Simply by shooting the film in Israel and casting Israeli actors, Doueiri was violating a 1955 Lebanese law that bans “cooperation with Israeli institutions or acts, inside or outside Israel.” He could even face the death penalty if a Lebanese court interpreted his felony as full-fledged treason.

“The Attack” is based on the book of the same name by Algerian writer Mohammed Moulessehoul. It tells the story of an Israeli-Palestinian surgeon working in Tel Aviv, who discovers that a suicide bombing was carried out by his wife after terrorists recruited her.

It was banned in Lebanon, and the Arab League called for its boycott because of the Israeli locations used during production.

In a March 2013 interview with The Times of Israel, Doueiri was defiant despite the risks posed by making the film in Israel.

“No Lebanese government is going to execute me for going to Israel, but they can screw things up for me,” he said at the time. “I’m not afraid. If I were, I wouldn’t have made the film.”

Born in 1963, Doueiri is most famous for his film “West Beirut.” He left his home country during its civil war and studied in the US. He now mostly works there and in Europe.

Agencies and Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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