Dubai: Both Google and Apple online stores stopped lately offering web applications for Hezbollah’s television station of Al Manar, in the latest move in the recently increasing American pressures on the Lebanese group accused of many charges, including terrorism and money laundering.
All applications from the Google Play and iTunes web stores were removed earlier this month, a report published in the Lebanese English-language newspaper of Daily Star said.
In general, Maha Abouelenein, Head of Communications for the Mena at Google, said “We remove applications that violate our policies, such as apps that are illegal or that promote hate speech”.
However, she added in a statement to Gulf News “We don’t comment on individual applications — however, you can check out our policies for more.
The now-banned online application used to allow user to live stream Al Manar Channel, which is banned in the US since 2004 for its “terrorism ties”. France also banned the channel for anti-semitic speech.
According to US laws, any association with either Al Manar or Hezbollah is a reason for denying entry to the US and any financial support to the Lebanese group could lead to criminal prosecution, according to American regulation.
The recent technology ban came at a time the US has increased its pressure on the group, claiming that the group is involved in South American drug smuggling and money laundering — a charge categorically denied by Hezbollah officials who called the American allegation as “pure lies” to defame the image of the party and its resistance.
Million of dollars were being funnelled to Lebanese banks and then laundered to the group, the US Justice Department announced.
The US, moreover, has been pressurising the Lebanese Central bank to tighten its control over money transfer.