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Rifi calls Sader kidnapping ‘my personal case’

File - Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi speaks during a meeting in Beirut, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)

BEIRUT: Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi renewed his vow Wednesday to pursue the case of kidnapped Middle East Airlines employee Joseph Sader until it was solved.

“This case will be followed up until the end regardless of the costs. This is my personal case, the case of any free Lebanese citizen and a case of public opinion and we will not discard it no matter what happens,” Rifi said.

He made the remarks after Sader’s family visited his office in the Beirut neighborhood of Mathaf to thank him for his work following up on the disappearance.

The 57-year-old Sader, an IT manager at MEA and a father of three, was abducted on Feb. 12, 2009, while walking to work at Rafik Hariri International Airport.

After meeting with Rifi, Sader’s daughter Sofia said he assured them that the case would be opened again after being closed for five years.

“ Joseph Sader is a Lebanese citizen regardless of his sect, religion or job, and we want to reach an end to his case,” Sofia Sader said.

“We ask any political, religious or partisan figure who has any information about my father’s case to speak and hand over the information he possesses.”

Sader said the family would meet with all relevant politicians to pressure them to resolve the case.

In February, Speaker Nabih Berri signed a request by the public prosecutor to obtain records dealing with the kidnapping, judicial sources told The Daily Star.

The records are from an Oct. 10, 2011, meeting of Parliament’s Human Rights Committee.

During the session, Rifi, then-head of the Internal Security Forces, and the Sader family gave testimony in the case, revealing critical information that prompted a flurry of reactions from political leaders but failed to lead to any breakthroughs.

Speaking after the meeting with Sader’s family Wednesday, Rifi said that the Justice Ministry had received the records.

The minister also highlighted a number of points made during the session two years ago, such as his insistence that Sader’s abduction had nothing to do with the MEA employee having committed any crime.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on March 13, 2014, on page 4.

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Summary

Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi renewed his vow Wednesday to pursue the case of kidnapped Middle East Airlines employee Joseph Sader until it was solved.

After meeting with Rifi, Sader's daughter Sofia said he assured them that the case would be opened again after being closed for five years.

Sader said the family would meet with all relevant politicians to pressure them to resolve the case.

Speaking after the meeting with Sader's family Wednesday, Rifi said that the Justice Ministry had received the records.


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