BEIRUT: Militant Sheikh Omar Bakri Fustoq was charged Tuesday with belonging to terrorist groups and planning to establish his own Islamic state.
Military Prosecutor Saqr Saqr charged Fustoq with belonging to the “terrorist organizations Daesh [Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria] and Al-Qaeda and with seeking to establish an Islamic emirate in Lebanon.”
Saqr also charged Fustoq with “giving religious lessons, which included incitement against the state and the Lebanese Army and encouraging sectarian strife and internal fighting.”
The Syrian-born sheikh was also charged with undergoing weapons and explosives training.
Fustoq could face the death penalty if convicted.
Saqr referred Fustoq to Military Judge Riad Abu Ghayda with a request for an arrest warrant against him.
Authorities detained the wanted sheikh in Aley on May 25, after he fled his home in Tripoli before the Lebanese Army and police launched a security plan to restore law and order to the city, which was plagued by several rounds of clashes linked to the crisis in Syria.
The Tripoli-based preacher had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria, urging the radical Syrian rebel group to “reactivate its cells” in Lebanon.