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Egypt court grants Libya citizens' demand to remove state TV channels

An Egyptian court on Monday ordered the removal of 14 Libyan news stations from the air. Libyan citizens and Egyptian lawyers filed the lawsuit, arguing that the stations, which are owned by the Muammar Gaddafi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] administration, incite opposition to the rebels [AP report] fighting to overthrow Gaddafi. Nilesat, a state-owned satellite operator, will be prohibited from airing any of the 14 stations. Libyan pro-democracy protestors launched their own satellite station in response to Gaddafi's media regime, which consisted of the state-owned TV stations, negatively depicted rebel opposition and encouraged patriotism.

Investigations into possible war crimes committed by the Gaddafi government are on-going. In June, International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] issued arrest warrants [JURIST report] for Gaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the "de facto Prime Minister," and his brother-in-law Abdullah al-Sanussi [warrants, PDF], the head of intelligence. Moreno-Ocampo said his office had gathered "direct evidence" [JURIST report] that shows Gaddafi personally ordered attacks on civilian protestors and that his forces used live ammunition on crowds, attacked civilians in their homes, used heavy weapons against people in funeral processions and placed snipers to shoot those leaving mosques after prayer services. Moreno-Ocampo announced [JURIST report] last month that his office was pursuing arrest warrants against Gaddafi and the two others in his "inner circle." At that time, Moreno-Ocampo said his office was almost prepared for trial, having collected quality testimony from some who have fled Libya. There have been numerous allegations of war crimes and human rights violations over the Libyan revolt which has persisted since February. Earlier this month, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [official website] decided to extend a mandate to an investigative panel instructing it to continue its investigation of human rights abuses in Libya, after it published a 92-page report [JURIST reports]. The report claims Libyan authorities have committed crimes against humanity such as acts constituting murder, imprisonment and other severe deprivations of physical liberties, torture, forced disappearances and rape "as part of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population with knowledge of the attack."

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