Lebanese judge orders Arabsat to rebroadcast al-Manar
A Lebanese judge has ordered Saudi-based satellite communications operator Arabsat to resume broadcasting the al-Manar TV, which was abruptly stopped last year without prior notice.
Hassan Hamdan, the judge of urgent affairs at Baabda Court, said in the Thursday verdict that the Lebanese Code of Civil Procedure allows him “to look into any lawsuit regarding conflicts that emerged in his district of duty.”
The ruling asked Arabsat to re-launch the Beirut-based channel “as soon as possible.”
The court ruling is, however, not binding as the operator moved its offices from Lebanon to Jordan right after taking al-Manar off air.
Lebanon’s Daily Star quoted a judicial source as saying that the relationship between Arabsat and al-Manar is governed through a private contract.
Back at the time, the Beirut-based station condemned the move in a statement, calling it “the latest step in the policy of muzzling voices.”
The statement also said “al-Manar is the voice of the Bahrainis, Saudis, Iraqis, Syrians, Tunisians, Egyptians and all the Arabs and Muslims,” vowing to continue its coverage of the developments in the region and the entire Muslim world.
Al-Manar is owned by Lebanese resistance movement of Hezbollah.
Hezbollah has been sharply critical of the kingdom’s fanning extremism throughout the region. It has also been successfully shoring up the Syrian military in its battle against Saudi-backed Takfiri terrorists operating in Syria.
In November 2015, the Lebanese al-Mayadeen television channel was also stopped being broadcast via Arabsat after a guest criticized Saudi Arabia’s handling of a tragic human crush in Mina, near the Saudi city of Mecca, during Hajj rituals in September that year.