I take exception to the authors' treatment of what boils down to a child custody dispute between parents of different nationalities {"Rescue," magazine, Aug. 16}. As painful and emotional as those stories may be, they do not warrant sensational coverage that maligns a nation and its legal system.

Child custody cases, whether in Lebanon or elsewhere, are adjudicated in civil courts according to the prevailing law of the land. "Taking the law into your own hands" by kidnapping a child when the court decision is going against you, or attempting to influence those decisions, is considered a crime in Lebanon as in other states.

Despite the difficulties Lebanon has faced in the past decade, it still has a functioning judiciary system. As in any democratic state, the Lebanese judiciary's powers and independence are guaranteed by its constitution.

Moreover, the traditional Lebanese attachment to democratic values has ensured that the legal system enjoys a high level of respect, and that court decisions, especially in civil law cases, are adhered to. While implementation of court decisions may sometimes be difficult in Lebanon's turbulent times, its judicial system's competence, impartiality, honesty and independence have never been at issue.

J. M. YAMINE

Press Assistant, Embassy of Lebanon

Washington