Tripoli Ulemas Accuse Army of Collaborating with Hizbullah against Sunnisإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
The Ulemas of the northern city of Tripoli on Tuesday accused the Lebanese army of collaborating with Hizbullah to target members of the Sunni community and said the judiciary was receiving orders from Iran.
“The military is collaborating with Hizbullah to fight Sunnis,” Sheikh Salem al-Rafehi said following a meeting that the Ulemas held hours after Tripoli witnessed tension that left one person dead.
He accused the army of disrespecting itself by asking for the assistance of a “militia” against the Sunni sect.
The Sheikh called on President Michel Suleiman and Caretaker Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn to reveal what he said was the torture and killing of Sunni detainees at the Defense Ministry in Yarze.
“If our Christian partners are turning a blind eye to what's happening to Sunnis, then their turn will come” in the future, he warned.
Al-Rafehi also accused Hizbullah's main backer Iran of dragging Sunni youths to a battle with the army. “Some members of the military are receiving orders from Iran and killing our sons,” he said.
The cleric was referring to the latest arrest and alleged abuse of Sunni detainees after a deadly battle between troops and supporters of radical Sheikh Ahmed al-Asir in the southern city of Sidon.
There have been claims that the army is committing abuses against people suspected of links to last week's clashes in which around 18 soldiers and more than 20 supporters of al-Asir died.
Last week, the army said it had ordered a "major investigation" into the beating of a suspect.
A video footage created controversy showing the man saying he worked in Asir's mosque, but that he has no weapons and had nothing to do with the fighting.
The video also shows one man in civilian clothing hitting him, then a soldier kicking him and finally several others joining in.
A man is heard ordering those filming with their telephones to stop, and the footage ends abruptly.
The meeting of the Ulemas came against the backdrop of the alleged abuses and tension in Tripoli at dawn Tuesday which left one man dead.
Salim Amin al-Ashqar, 75, died after inhaling smoke from shops that were burned by armed men to protest the arrest of a suspect who had appeared alongside singer-turned Salafist Fadel Shaker in a video circulated in the wake of the gunbattles in Sidon.
Sheikh Mohammed Imam, who also spoke during the press conference of the Ulemas, described Tripoli as a “victim,” saying it was being “punished and marginalized.”
“Why are arms being used in the streets and no one has an answer?” he asked.
He urged all officials to assume their responsibilities.