Judge Vows to Resign if Grilled over U.S. Envoy Ruling

Judge Mohammed Mazeh, the urgent matters judge in the southern city of Tyre, on Sunday pledged that he would resign should he be questioned over his controversial ruling against the U.S. ambassador.

"Some news websites have reported that Mr. State Prosecutor Judge Ghassan Oueidat has referred me to judicial inspection over ineligibility. I have not been informed of anything in this regard," Mazeh said in a statement.

"Should the issue turn out to be true, and before being referred to inspection over a ruling I issued with a clear conscience and full conviction... I hereby submit a request to be relieved of my duties at the judiciary, which I will officially submit on Tuesday," Mazeh added.

State Prosecutor Oueidat later denied that he had referred Mazeh to judicial inspection.

Judicial sources meanwhile told al-Jadeed TV that "the Judicial Inspection Board has acted on its own in line with its jurisdiction," denying receiving any request from Oueidat.

Mazeh has sparked a storm of controversy after he issued a ruling banning local and foreign media working in the country from airing or publishing comments by U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea.

Mazeh said he acted after receiving a complaint from a citizen who considered Shea's comments "insulting to the Lebanese people."

During an interview with Saudi-owned news channel Al-Hadath aired on Friday, Shea had said that the United States has "grave concerns about the role of Hizbullah," describing it as "a designated terrorist organization."

"It has siphoned off billions of dollars that should have gone into government coffers so that the government can provide basic services to its people," she said. "It has obstructed some of the economic reforms the Lebanese economy so desperately needs," she added.

Source: Naharnet

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