Lebanese diplomacy will call on the US ambassador to Beirut on Monday following virulent remarks against the Shiite movement, which is the subject of a controversial ban from a local judge.
US ambassador to Beirut, Dorothy Shea, was indicted by a judge in southern Lebanon for promoting sedition following controversial remarks about Hezbollah on Monday, June 29. She is scheduled to meet with Minister Nassif Hitti “in light of his latest statements”, the news agency ANI said on Sunday.
In an interview Friday with Saudi television channel Al-Hadath, Dorothy Shea expressed “grave concern” from Washington “over the role of Hezbollah, a terrorist organization”. The Shiite movement has “seized billions of dollars that should have entered the government coffers (…) and hindered some economic reforms that Lebanon desperately needs,” she accused, while the country is plagued by its worst economic crisis of about 30 years.
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On Saturday, an interim judge in the city of Tires (south), Mohamad Mazeh, decided to sanction banning Lebanese and foreign media working in Lebanon from interviewing Dorothy Shea for a year. by Hezbollah.
The Lebanese authorities must “take immediate steps to force this ambassador to respect international law,” urged Hassan Fadlallah, deputy to the powerful Shiite party, citing the Geneva Convention on Diplomatic Relations on Sunday.
We strongly believe in freedom of speech and the important role that free media plays in the US and Lebanon. We stand with the Lebanese people.https://t.co/7IB2d96CJ8
– US Embassy Beirut (@usembassybeirut) June 27, 2020
Several media were annoyed at the judge’s decision. Thus, the local channel LBC considered it “non-binding and impossible to implement” and that it violated the freedom of the press. A legal source told AFP that Judge Mazeh had “gone beyond her privileges”.
Country with 18 religious communities, Lebanon is governed by a complex system of power sharing where justice is often subject to political and social tensions.
For the US State Department, this is a “pathetic” attempt at “censorship” by Hezbollah. Lebanese Information Minister Manal Abdel Samad, for his part, emphasized the need to ensure freedom of the press.
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Judge Mazeh threatened on Sunday to resign if he were brought before the judicial inspection, after information about this was transmitted by local media.
The incident occurs amid rising tensions between Washington and the Shiite party, which recently accused the United States of trying to cause famine in Lebanon and ban the inflow of dollars, the currency on which the pound is indexed. Lebanese.