Judge Accepts Lawsuit Accusing Saudi Minister of 'Sowing Discord'
A Lebanese judge on Tuesday accepted to look into a lawsuit filed against firebrand Saudi State Minister for Gulf Affairs Thamer al-Sabhan, who was in charge of the Lebanon file during Prime Minister Saad Hariri's resignation crisis.
“Beirut First Examining Magistrate Ghassan Oueidat has decided to accept the lawsuit filed by liberated captive Nabih Awada through his lawyer Hassan Bazzi against Saudi State Minister for Gulf Affairs Thamer al-Sabhan on charges of sowing discord among the Lebanese, inciting them to strife and disrupting Lebanon's ties with a foreign state,” the National News Agency said.
Awada had served time in Israeli prisons.
“The lawsuit was filed on January 31 and Judge Oueidat has decided to proceed with the lawsuit and will soon set a date for Sabhan's interrogation,” NNA added.
The fiercely anti-Iran Saudi minister has been suspected of playing a key role in the hurried and ultimately unsuccessful resignation of Hariri in November.
For days before Hariri's surprise resignation, which the kingdom is widely believed to have orchestrated, al-Sabhan issued threats against Lebanon's government as well as Iran and its ally Hizbullah via Twitter, unnerving many Lebanese who feared being dragged into the forefront of the Saudi-Iranian rivalry.
On Twitter, al-Sabhan has referred to the Iranian-backed Hizbullah — which means "Party of God" in Arabic — as the "Party of Satan."
A few days before Hariri's resignation, al-Sabhan warned in an interview with Lebanon's MTV that there would be "astonishing" developments to “topple” Hizbullah. He also said that Lebanon's government — headed by Hariri — would be dealt with as a hostile government that's declared war against Saudi Arabia because of Hizbullah's power-sharing role.
"It is up to (Lebanon's) leaders to decide whether it is a state of terror or peace," al-Sabhan wrote on Twitter two days after Hariri's resignation. Mediation by France, a close ally of both Saudi Arabia and Lebanon, helped reverse the resignation and return Hariri to his post.
According to media reports, al-Sabhan is no longer in charge of the Lebanon file.