Report: U.S. 'Pressures' Lebanon to Release Fakhoury

Under the pretext of health conditions, Lebanon is being “pressured” to release Amer Fakhoury charged with murder and torture of Lebanese citizens during Israel's occupation of southern Lebanon, al-Akhbar daily reported on Tuesday.

Fakhoury, Lebanese-American, is reportedly undergoing cancer treatment, and it remains unclear if he'll be able to stand trial.

According to “informed sources,” the United States is threatening to impose “strict sanctions” on Lebanon if it keeps Fakhoury in custody, urging authorities to let Fakhoury fly back to the United States, said the daily.

“The case must be followed up closely,” said the sources, pointing out that “US pressures on Lebanon in secret are greater than those brought out to public.”

Last week, a U.S. senator Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, who is reportedly working on a sanctions bill, said that Fakhoury is “being held by authorities despite no proof of wrongdoing.”

Earlier in February, a military investigative judge charged Fakhoury with murder and torture of Lebanese citizens, crimes he allegedly committed during Israel's occupation of southern Lebanon, judicial officials had said.

The accusations could carry a death sentence.

Amer Fakhoury is accused of working as a senior warden at Khiam Prison, which was run by an Israel-backed Lebanese militia. The prison has been described by human rights groups as a center for torture. He was detained in September after he returned to his native Lebanon from the U.S., and Lebanon's intelligence service says he confessed during questioning to being a warden.

Source: Naharnet, Associated Press

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