Prominent Activist Lokman Slim Found Shot Dead


A prominent Lebanese publisher and vocal critic of Hizbullah was found dead in his car Thursday morning from multiple gunshots at close range, security and forensic officials said.

Lokman Slim, a 58-year-old longtime Shiite political activist and researcher, had been missing for hours since late Wednesday and his family posted social media messages looking for him. He was visiting friends in a southern village and was expected back in Beirut the same day.

Security forces found Slim's car on a rural road near the southern village of Addoussieh.

Afif Khafajeh, a coroner who inspected Slim's body, said there were six bullets in Slim's body -- three in the head, one in the chest and one in the back. Blood was splattered over the passenger car seat.

A security official at the scene said Slim's ID, phone and gun were missing. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

A resident of Addoussieh said the car was found on the rural road before midnight. He declined to provide his name.

Slim's killing caused a shock in Lebanon and many feared it signaled a return to political violence. Lebanon has a history of political crimes and violence, but it has been years since such killings have occurred. With rising tension amid a deepening political dispute and economic crises, officials have warned of violence and assassinations.

Slim's wife Monika Borgmann and sister Rasha al-Ameer had earlier posted on social media that Slim had not answered his phone for hours and hadn't been seen since Wednesday evening.

Al-Ameer said she learned of Slim's death from news reports as she was filing a missing person's form. She hinted that Hizbullah was behind the killing, without naming the group. Asked whether she accuses anyone specific, al-Ameer said the killers "have implicated themselves."

She said the party that controls the area where her brother was killed "is known," adding, "killing for them is a habit." Hizbullah allies dominate the area south of Sidon city where his car was found."

The circumstances of Slim's death were not clear and a security official in Beirut said an investigation is underway to determine what happened.

Caretaker Interior Minister Mohammad Fahmi, speaking to local TV station MTV, called it a "horrific crime."

For many, Slim's killing stirred fears of a return of a culture of impunity where few, if any, are held accountable for violence or corruption. His killing comes six months after a massive explosion in the Beirut port that killed 211 people and disfigured the capital. So far, an investigation into what caused the explosion and who is responsible has led nowhere.

European Union Ambassador to Lebanon Ralph Tarraf tweeted that he was shocked and saddened by the killing of Slim, calling it an assassination.

"We deplore the prevailing culture of impunity in #Lebanon in which such heinous acts take place and demand a proper investigation by the competent authorities," Tarraf said.

French ambassador Anne Grillo also called his killing an assassination, sending her condolences to the family in a tweet.

Slim was born in the southern suburbs of Beirut. The vocal critic of Hizbullah continued to live with his family in the suburbs, which is a stronghold of the group.

There, he founded and ran Umam, a research and film production house where he had a major library documenting Lebanon's and Shiite history. His family owns a publishing house and Slim hosted public debates and political forums and art shows, including exhibitions documenting the war's missing.

In 2009, he defied authorities and Hizbullah by holding a gathering at his center to show an Israeli cartoon movie about Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon and the rise of Bashir Gemayel who became President at the time and was as assassinated in September that year.

Slim was also politically active, setting up in 2005 Haya Bina, or "Let's go," a group that encouraged participation in parliamentary elections and called for changes to Lebanon's sectarian-based system.

"It is a big tragedy," said Makram Rabah, a close friend and history lecturer. "Anyone who knows Lokman they know who his enemies are."

Rabah said he and Slim were strong opponents of Hizbullah's grip on power and called for sovereignty and diversity in Lebanon. They were both attacked by a group of young men during a public debate at the height of anti-government protests in 2019. Slim at the time accused Hizbullah supporters of being behind the attack.

Slim also accused Hizbullah supporters of threatening him at his home, holding rallies and hanging posters on its walls accusing him of treason.

Shortly after the news was public, Jawad, the son of Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, said in a tweet that "the loss of some is in fact a profit and unaccounted kindness,” adding the hashtag #without_regret.

He later erased it saying it was "misinterpreted" and had no relation to Slim's death.

Comments 19
Thumb justice 04 February 2021, 10:29

must be Israel... right?

Missing phillipo 04 February 2021, 10:46

Why exactly would Israel want to eliminate such a prominent anti-Hizballah activist? Exactly the opposite.

Thumb fizdoq 04 February 2021, 11:19

its called sarcasm ya Bro

Thumb marcus 04 February 2021, 13:22

One Shia troll with multiple accounts did not like the truth so he expressed his votes in a 'democratic' manner in the way he was brought up.

Thumb gebran_sons 04 February 2021, 19:07

This is life under Iranian Basij using Lebanese surrogate and Hizb as a national facade. Hizbollah is created, funded, indoctrinated and armed by Iran radicals and therefore a foreign occupation force. Anyone supporting Hizb is committing treason!

Default-user-icon Sad citizen (Guest) 04 February 2021, 10:35

The terrorists assassinated loqman salim, an intellectual and hizbala critic last night in the South. Naharnet, i urge you to stop giving their fifty cent army a tribune to spread their hateful propaganda

Thumb thepatriot 04 February 2021, 10:37

... or the US...

Missing phillipo 04 February 2021, 10:47

Or, most likely, HIZBALLAH, who will do anything to silence opposition to it.

Thumb galaxy 04 February 2021, 13:17

Shortly after the news was public, the son of Hizbullah leader Jawad Nasrallah said in a tweet that "the loss of some is in fact a profit and unaccounted kindness,” adding the hashtag #without regret.

No further comment your honor!

Thumb ansarullah 04 February 2021, 13:29

God bless our Shia resistance for accepting others and differing opinions and critics. The death of this traitor although condemned by our Shia resistance and its leadership is a welcomed act. Those traitors who are paid by outside forces and speak for outside forces must be dealt with in a brutal way so that they may serve as a lesson to others. Having said that, our Shia resistance will co-operate with the Lebanese security agencies to bring the perpetrators to justice in accordance with Sharia Law.

Shea Shia Shea !!!

Thumb geom1975 04 February 2021, 14:11

You are pathetic

Thumb thepatriot 04 February 2021, 14:11

How much longer will people tolerate Ebola...?

Thumb ex-fpm 04 February 2021, 14:54

As long as wet have Aoun and the FPM!

Missing sioufi 04 February 2021, 20:41

He's well known in Lebanon, anyone who follows the local Lebanese news know who he was.

Missing sioufi 04 February 2021, 20:46

Why would they, he was an activist not a politicians. Naharnet covers mostly politicians. Hezballah's Al-Akhbar and al-Manar on the other hand mention his regularly, usually in a accusing and threatening manner. If you lived in Lebanon you wouldn't be asking silly questions.

Missing sioufi 04 February 2021, 20:46

Your silly attempt wont work.

Missing sioufi 04 February 2021, 20:47

Of course it won't. Your handlers will be disappointed.

Thumb LongLiveLebanon 04 February 2021, 22:37

Of course SLIM's murderers (who else but HIZBULLAH) will quickly blame Israeli agents for this assassination. Every true Lebanese patriot knows that Hizbullah and their Iranian masters will silence any dissent by any means.

Thumb 05 February 2021, 11:43

He’s been mentioned on Naharnet plenty of times in the past 10 years . Google it.