Six years in prison for airing Hizbullah TV in US

US attorney says Javed Iqbal, who bought satellite equipment to broadcast Al Manar, was "Hizbullah's man in New York City."

April 24, 2009 02:22
2 minute read.
Six years in prison for airing Hizbullah TV in US

al manar hizbullah website 248.88. (photo credit: )


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user uxperience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew, Ivrit
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Repor
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

A Pakistani immigrant to the US whom a prosecutor called "Hizbullah's man in New York City" was sentenced to nearly six years in prison on Thursday, for airing the Lebanese group's television station. US District Judge Richard M. Berman handed down a sentence of five years and nine months to Javed Iqbal, who had pleaded guilty in December 2008 to providing aid to a terrorist organization. Iqbal, 45, admitted as part of a plea agreement that he used satellite dishes on his Staten Island home to distribute broadcasts of Al Manar, Hizbullah's television station. Assistant US Attorney Eric Snyder said Iqbal recruited Al Manar, even traveling to "the belly of the beast, South Beirut," to meet with its general manager. "He was, in a very real sense, Hizbullah's man in New York City," Snyder said. Snyder said Iqbal bought special satellite equipment to allow Al Manar to provide 24-hour programming from November 2005 through May 2006 so Hizbullah could use it to recruit followers and suicide bombers. Prosecutors said Iqbal's business was paid $28,000 monthly for at least five months for airing the station to its North American customers. Iqbal's lawyer, Josh Dratel, said his client didn't intend to aid Hizbullah as he tried to build his Brooklyn-based satellite television company, HDTV Limited. Dratel called the airing of Al Manar "one discreet and narrow aspect" of an otherwise legitimate broadcasting company that also aired Christian programming, adult entertainment, a Jamaican channel and a gay and lesbian channel. Before Iqbal was sentenced, he had Dratel read aloud a statement he had written. The statement said that he did not make any profit by airing Al Manar and that the resulting criminal charges had "hurt me financially, emotionally and physically." It asked for leniency from the judge. In court papers, Dratel argued that Iqbal does not possess any ideology sympathetic to terrorism or other political doctrine, and he noted that one of HDTV's partners was a city police officer. "He is a businessman and sought to provide services he thought would generate profits," Dratel wrote. Iqbal, who has lived in the US for more than 20 years, will most likely be deported once he has completed his prison sentence, Dratel said. Iqbal, a former car mechanic, is married with five children and a sixth child due in July. The August 2006 arrest of Iqbal initially sparked a First Amendment battle, with claims by his lawyers that he was no different from major news companies and Internet providers, some of which permit live streaming broadcasts of Al Manar. But the arguments were rejected by the court, and there was no mention of the First Amendment at the sentencing.

Related Content

July 19, 2018
Pro-Assad villages evacuated in deal with Syrian rebels