Diab on Fakhoury Release: Collaboration Crime Can't be Forgotten
Prime Minister Hassan Diab on Friday stressed that “the crime of collaboration with the Israeli enemy cannot be forgotten,” a day after former Khiyam Prison warden Amer Fakhoury arrived in the U.S. after spending around five months in Lebanese prisons.
“Heaven’s justice won’t drop the rights of martyrs and liberated captives due to ‘passage of time,’” Diab tweeted, criticizing Fakhoury’s controversial release.
Foreign Minister Nassif Hitti had earlier in the day summoned the U.S. ambassador and asked her to explain "the circumstances of Amer Fakhoury being transferred abroad from the U.S. embassy," the National News Agency said.
Fakhoury, a former member of the Israeli-backed South Lebanon Army militia (SLA), went into exile more than two decades ago before returning to Lebanon in September, when he was arrested.
The 57-year-old was released on Monday over a statute of limitations on his alleged crimes, a judicial source said, though put under a travel ban, according to state media.
On Thursday, U.S. President Donald Trump hailed Fakhoury's return to the United States, saying he was suffering from late-stage cancer. He also thanked the Lebanese government for cooperating with Washington in the case.
A security source said on Thursday that Fakhoury left the country in a helicopter from the U.S. embassy heading to an unknown destination, but the embassy did not comment on the report.
When Fakhoury was arrested, a Lebanese security source said he had served as a senior warden in the notorious Khiyam Prison, opened in 1984 by the SLA after Israel occupied southern Lebanon.
Witnesses accuse Fakhoury of ordering or taking part in beatings of thousands of inmates.
The veteran militiaman's release by a military court on Monday prompted huge criticism on social media.
Hizbullah, largely credited with Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000, said it would be more honorable for the judges involved to resign rather that "succumb to the pressures that led to this decision."
On Friday, the head of the military tribunal resigned over the criticism.