BEIRUT: Military Prosecutor Judge Saqr Saqr requested that Lebanese Army Intelligence finalize preliminary investigations for Tripoli militant Hussam al-Sabbagh’s case Friday, calling for his immediate referral to the Military Court for prosecution.
A judicial source told The Daily Star that Saqr called on intelligence branches in the Lebanese Army to refer Sabbagh to the Military Court, along with the relevant investigation documents, in order to facilitate his prosecution.
The Army arrested Sabbagh at the Al-Manar checkpoint in Tripoli last week. The infamous militant is wanted on dozens of outstanding arrest warrants for his pivotal role in fighting this year between the Tripoli neighborhoods of majority Sunni Bab al-Tabbaneh, where pro-Syrian revolution sentiments prevail, and the predominately Alawite Jabal Mohsen.
Sabbagh is considered the military commander of Salafists in Tripoli, and his arrest is likely to spark a wave of anger within Islamist circles, according to the sources. They added that Sabbagh was immediately transferred to the military prison at the Defense Ministry in Beirut.
The militant came to prominence with the latest rounds of fighting between Tripoli’s Jabal Mohsen and Bab al-Tabbaneh. He commands some 250 fighters in Bab al-Tabbaneh.
Sabbagh is also said to have fought alongside Syrian rebels, including the notorious Nusra Front. He has helped smuggle fighters into Syria, and is said to be involved, not only for religious reasons, but also out of a desire to avenge the injustices he believes the Assad family imposed on Bab al-Tabbaneh when Syria occupied Lebanon.
The Nusra Front and other Syrian Islamist fighting groups used him as their foremost representative in Lebanon, and Sabbagh coordinated between various groups who hope to establish an Islamic emirate in Tripoli.