Controversy in Lebanon as Israeli agent is flown to US

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President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Hassan Diab at a Cabinet meeting. (AFP)
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Amer Fakhoury was freed from a prison in Lebanon on March 19, 2020. (File/AP)
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Updated 21 March 2020

Controversy in Lebanon as Israeli agent is flown to US

  • Amer Fakhoury was ordered released Thursday by a judge in Lebanon and flown out of the country on an American military aircraft
  • Lebanon's Foreign Minister Nasif Hitti sought an explanation from Ambassador Dorothy Shea for the circumstances of Fakhoury’s exit

BEIRUT: Foreign Minister Nassif Hitti on Friday summoned the US Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea over the transportation of Israeli agent Amer Al-Fakhoury from the US Embassy in Awkar to the US.
 Hitti’s office said that the minister listened to Shea give “an explanation about the circumstances of Amer Al-Fakhoury being transferred abroad from the US Embassy.”
 A US military helicopter landed at the embassy on Thursday before leaving and flying out to sea.
 US citizen Al-Fakhoury had taken refuge in the embassy on Monday, after Lebanon’s military court dropped charges of “killing and torturing detainees at Khiam prison in the South during the Israeli occupation before the year 2000” against him.
The court said that charges against him were dropped because the statute of limitations had expired, which meant that 20 years had passed since the crimes took place without anyone filing a complaint against him.
The helicopter was able to fly in due to an agreement signed by the US and Lebanon in 1982, allowing US planes to “enter Lebanese airspace and land on its territory without revealing the nature of the mission.”
Al-Fakhoury was arrested in September 2019 at Beirut airport while returning from the US after he had fled to Israel when the occupation forces withdrew from Southern Lebanon.
 He was recognized and spent months at one of Lebanon’s hospitals during his arrest, since he suffers from advanced cancer.

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US citizen Al-Fakhoury had taken refuge in the embassy,, after Lebanon’s military court dropped charges of ‘killing and torturing detainees at Khiam prison in the South during the Israeli occupation before the year 2000’ against him.

Activists accused Hezbollah of being “an accomplice of the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) to release Al-Fakhoury.”
This necessitated the appearance of Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah on TV on Friday night to clarify its position.
The head of the court that released Al-Fakhoury, Brig. Gen. Hussein Abdallah, announced his resignation on Friday morning.
 “Out of respect for my oath and military honor, I am resigning from heading the military court, where the application of the law equals the release of an agent, the pain of a captive and the betraying of a judge,” he said.
Prime Minister Hassan Diab tweeted: “The crime of being an informant for the Israeli enemy cannot be forgotten. The rights of martyrs and liberated prisoners do not fade in heaven’s justice by the passage of time.”


Algeria says France to return remains of 24 resistance fighters

Updated 02 July 2020

Algeria says France to return remains of 24 resistance fighters

  • Tebboune said some of the remains belonged to “leaders” of the resistance movement who were killed in the 19th century

ALGIERS: Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune on Thursday said France will return the remains of 24 resistance fighters who were killed during its colonization of the North African country.
“Within a few hours Algerian military planes will fly in from France and land at the Houari Boumediene international airport with the remains of 24 (members) of the popular resistance,” Tebboune said during a military ceremony.
Tebboune said some of the remains belonged to “leaders” of the resistance movement who were killed in the 19th century fighting against France which occupied and ruled Algeria for 132 years.
In his speech, Tebboune said these resistance fighters “had been deprived of their natural and human right to be buried for more than 170 years.”
One of the leaders whose remains are to be returned is Sheikh Bouzian, who was captured in 1849 by the French, shot and decapitated.
The remains of two other key figures of the resistance — Bou Amar Ben Kedida and Si Mokhtar Ben Kouider Al Titraoui — are also among those expected back in Algeria.
The country won independence from France in 1962 after eight years of bitter war that left some 1.5 million Algerians dead.
Emmanuel Macron, the first French president to be born after the war, made his first official visit to Algeria in December 2017, announcing that he came as a “friend” despite France’s historically prickly ties with its former colony.
At the time he told news website Tout sur l’Algerie that he was “ready” to see his country hand back the skulls of Algerian resistance fighters.
Algerian and French academics have long campaigned for the return of 37 skulls held at the Musee de l’Homme in Paris.
In December 2019, Macron said that “colonialism was a grave mistake” and called for turning the page on the past.
During his presidential election campaign Macron had created a storm by calling France’s colonization of Algeria a “crime against humanity.”