Amer Fakhoury Dies in United States
Amer Fakhoury, an ex-member of the pro-Israel South Lebanon Army militia who was jailed for several months in Lebanon, passed away on Monday at his residence in the United States following a battle with cancer, Lebanese media reports said.
The release of Lebanese-American citizen Fakhoury in March and his eventual travel to the U.S. in mysterious circumstances had sparked controversy in Lebanon.
Fakhoury went into exile more than two decades ago before returning to Lebanon in September 2019, when he was arrested.
The 57-year-old was released in March over a statute of limitations on his alleged crimes, a judicial source said, though put under a travel ban.
U.S. President Donald Trump hailed Fakhoury's return to the United States, saying he was suffering from late-stage cancer.
Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah had slammed Fakhoury's departure to the U.S. as an "escape" organized by the U.S. embassy and a "flagrant violation of (Lebanese) sovereignty and justice."
Witnesses accuse Fakhoury of ordering or taking part in beatings of thousands of inmates at the notorious Khiyam Prison, but David Schenker, the top U.S. diplomat for the Middle East, disputed accounts of Fakhoury's involvement, saying his name did not come up in previous prosecutions of SLA members and charging that some in Lebanon wanted to use the U.S. citizen's detention as a bargaining chip.