Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea on Thursday slammed a judge's ruling on the ownership of LBCI television as “unjust” and “political.”
Earlier in the day, Judge Fatima Jouni ruled in favor of LBCI and its chairman Pierre Daher in the lawsuit filed against them by the LF and Geagea.
In her ruling, Jouni said the TV network had been initially funded by a “disbanded militia” and consequently by “revenues and bank loans granted to a company whose stakes are largely owned by Pierre Daher.”
“It has not been proved that Dr. Geagea and the LF had contributed any of their money in the establishment of that firm, seeing as they are not the owners of the money of disbanded militias,” Jouni said, noting that Geagea and the LF also did not play a role in obtaining the license that the TV network was granted after civil war.
“Only the Lebanese state has the right to share Daher in his stakes,” Jouni added, arguing that the state is the owner of any funds belonging to civil war militias.
Geagea hit back in an interview on MTV, calling on the Higher Judicial Council to "take this case into consideration in light of the contradictions that have marred it.”
“A large number of political parties do not prefer that we win the case, but I don't believe that a certain political party has interfered in the case but rather the judge's personal political orientation,” the LF leader added.
“The judge gave us our right under the law before stealing it from us in politics, when she said that a militia does not have ownership rights whereas this militia had a president (Bashir Gemayel) elected and was among the main supporters of the Taef Accord,” Geagea said.
He added: “I don't know where the judge was living between the years 1975 and 1990 and she does not acknowledge everything that happened during that period. Had my comrades and I refrained from doing what we did during that period, we would have been living today under an alternative state and the judge would not have been able to become a judge paid by the state.”
“If the LF had established the TV network and no selling process eventually occurred, then to whom does this television belong?” Geagea wondered, noting that “the answer is clear.”
Geagea also argued that “a lot of the current media outlets had been owned by military organizations during the war and are still like this until the moment,” lamenting that “only the LF is being deprived of this right.”
And pointing out that “political and not legal reasons” are behind Jouni's verdict, the LF leader announced that his party will appeal the ruling.
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