Miqati Hopes Qortbawi May Refer Abdul Wahed’s Case to Judicial Council amid Akkar Protestsإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Prime Minister Najib Miqati urged on Friday the residents of Akkar to exercise restraint following their blocking of roads in protest against the release of three officers and eight soldiers linked to the death of Sheikhs Ahmed Abdul Wahed and Mohammed Merheb.
He revealed in a statement that he had contacted Justice Minister Shakib Qortbawi on Thursday, requesting that he study the possibility of referring the case to the judicial council ahead of placing the issue at the cabinet agenda.
A meeting was held Thursday night between Akkar officials, including Mufti of the North and Tripoli, Sheikh Osama al-Rifai, to condemn the release of the officers.
They said in a statement after a meeting late on Thursday: “Such a disturbing and worrying decision failed to heed humanitarian and ethical rights of the families of the martyrs.”
The meeting included the committee tasked with following up on Abdul Wahed’s case, as well as MPs Khaled al-Daher and Khaled Zahraman.
They added: “We demand that the authorities reconsider their decision and return the suspects to custody until the complete picture in the case is uncovered.”
“We demand President Michel Suleiman to intervene in this case because we have faith that he caters to the people and nation and he swore to protect and implement the constitution,” they continued.
“We urge Miqati to hold an urgent cabinet meeting in order to tackle this issue … and immediately refer it to the judicial council,” said the Akkar officials.
“Despite the respect we owe it, the military tribunal should not act as a judge in this case,” they noted.
On May 20, Abdul Wahed and his companion, Sheikh Mohammed Merheb, were killed at an army checkpoint on Kweikhat in the North as they were headed to a rally organized by al-Daher.
The death sparked outrage in the North as residents blocked the road with burning tires in protest.
On May 21, Military Tribunal Judge Saqr Saqr detained the three officers who were responsible for the Kweikhat checkpoint, as well as the 19 members of the checkpoint.
Three officers and eight soldiers linked to the death of Abdul Wahed and his companion were released from custody on Thursday.
Five soldiers however remain in detention. LBC television reported that they me be released next week.
The gatherers added: “The assassination targets civil peace and it should be referred to the judicial council. We will then accept the verdict if the proceedings went ahead as they should.”
“We are in agreement that the army and all security forces should be protected. We had previously declared that our problem lies with the checkpoint that assaulted the two Sheikhs,” they stressed.
Furthermore, they voiced their opposition to the blocking of roads in protest against the decision, calling on the protesters to “return to their homes and leave the affair to the legal authorities.”
Residents of Akkar blocked roads in various regions in the area in protest against the decision.
Security sources told Agence France Presse on Friday that “armed groups have deployed on several roads in the Akkar district.”
“These gunmen and other unarmed groups are blocking roads with burning tires and inspecting the passing cars,” the sources said.
Meanwhile, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri condemned the release of the officers in Abdul Wahed’s case, slamming the “selective application of the law.”
He said in a statement on Thursday: “The authority of the state cannot be achieved through such practices, but through respecting the state and concerned agencies linked to the application of the law against any perpetrator.”
“The Mustaqbal Movement will not remain silent over such practices that had previously led to chaos in Lebanon,” he declared.
Hariri pledged before the Akkar residents to reveal all the details of Abdul Wahed and Merheb’s death.