BEIRUT: Militant Preacher Omar Bakri Fustoq was charged Tuesday with belonging to terrorist groups and plotting to establish his own Islamic state.
Military Prosecutor Saqr Saqr charged him with belonging to “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 preacher was also charged with undergoing weapons and explosives training.
Fustoq could face the death penalty if convicted. Saqr referred the case to Military Judge Riad Abu Ghayda, with a request for an arrest warrant against him.
Authorities detained the 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 order to the city, which was plagued by several rounds of clashes linked to the Syrian crisis.
The Tripoli-based preacher had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria, urging the group to “reactivate its cells” in Lebanon.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on June 04, 2014, on page 4.