Mount Lebanon Investigative Judge Nicolas Mansour adjourned on Thursday a court hearing for Lebanese TV political show host Marcel Ghanem in order to review preliminary defense material.
The court hearing did not last more than five minutes, as Mansour concluded the session to look into preliminary defense documents submitted by Ghanem’s lawyer, MP Boutros Harb.
The next hearing session was scheduled for February 2.
The prominent Lebanese media figure was charged with contempt and obstruction of justice in November, after he hosted two political analysts, who criticized the performance of President Michel Aoun and other Lebanese officials in his Kalam an-Nass political show.
Political and media figures gathered on Thursday in front of the Palace of Justice in Baabda (Mount Lebanon), in solidarity with Ghanem, calling for the protection of the freedom of opinion and media freedoms.
Participants in the demonstration included Information Minister Melhem Riachi, Education Minister Marwan Hamadeh, and MPs Ghazi Aridi, Nabil De Freige, Sami Gemayel, Nadim Gemayel and former MP Fares Soueid.
Addressing reporters in front of the Justice Palace, Hamade said: “The battle of freedoms is not new in Lebanon. I have lived through decades and witnessed journalists, who were imprisoned and released in victory over power.”
“When authorities try to politicize the judiciary, it loses,” the minister noted. “We have a big confidence in the judiciary, which we hope would fulfill our expectations.”
Upon the end of the hearing, Riachi announced that the atmosphere was positive, saying: “We sat down with Judge Nicolas Mansour, who is fair and committed to the logic of justice, and not affected by any outer influence.”
Ghanem, for his part, underlined the continuous fight for press freedom in Lebanon and thanked his supporters, including many journalists, who protested outside the Justice Palace.