BEIRUT: The commemoration of the death of Nabil Alam was canceled after tensions soared in Jbeil over the ceremony for the man who allegedly planned the assassination of President-elect Bachir Gemayel.
“I am not the one who decided to cancel the commemoration ceremony,” MP Nadim Gemayel, the son of the late president, told a local radio station. “But such an annual prayer was expected to turn into a political festival that would have surely harmed civil peace.”
Gemayel said he held contacts with officials and local figures in Jbeil to call off the ceremony, which he said fueled tensions in the area.
The lawmaker also visited Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai in Bkirki earlier this week and explained to the prelate the problems that could arise if the church allowed the ceremony to take place on June 22.
The next day, the Maronite Diocese in Jbeil called off the ceremony as per a church decision late Friday.
Alam, who died earlier this year, was a security official in the Syrian Social Nationalist Party and was allegedly the man who convinced Habib Shartouni to carry out the assassination of Gemayel in 1982. Alam also allegedly provided Shartouni with the explosives.
Given his position in the SSNP, Alam had close ties with Syrian intelligence.
Shartouni was arrested and jailed but never tried. He escaped Roumieh Prison in 1990 after spending almost eight years in detention.