The contempt judge at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), Nicola Lettieri, Thursday issued a decision to appoint a counsel in the case against the Lebanese newspaper Akhbar and its editor-in-chief Ibrahim Al Amin.
Al Amin, representing both himself and Akhbar Beirut appeared last week via video-conference from Beirut before the STL which is situated outside the Hague in the Netherlands.
Prior to entering a plea, the accused read a statement to the court, after which he left the video conference room, according to an STL press release.
Lettieri interpreted Al Amin's statement and his actions as a plea of not-guilty.
After consultations with the parties, he ordered the STL Defence Office to appoint counsel for the accused.
Al Amin reportedly said that he did not recognize the Special Tribunal and that he was not willing to accept "oppressive and repressive measures".
He is charged for "contempt and obstruction of justice" by publishing information on confidential witnesses in the Ayyash et al. case, thereby undermining public confidence in the Tribunal's ability to protect the confidentiality of information about, or provided, by witnesses.
The STL has indicted five members of the Lebanese Hizbollah in connection with the killing of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri and 21 others in a car bomb blast in Beirut in February 2005