Assir told his court-appointed lawyer, “you do not represent me.” (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
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Radical Islamist Sheikh Ahmad al-Assir was sentenced to death Thursday by the Military Tribunal for his role in leading the deadly 2013 Abra clashes against the Lebanese Army.The prosecution argued that Assir had rallied his followers to attack the Lebanese Army in 2013 leading to dayslong fighting that left 18 soldiers and 40 loyalists of the sheikh dead.Disgraced former Lebanese singer Fadl Shaker, who supported Assir, was sentenced in absentia to 15 years in prison.The move came after a string of hearings had to be abandoned due to procedural delays by Assir's defense team or them simply failing to appear in court.His lawyers argued Thursday that Assir had not personally opened fire on the military checkpoint and should, therefore, be spared a harsh sentence. Rabia al-Naqouzi, accused of being a follower of Assir, appeared in court to ask to be reunited with his family and demanded restitution over a bicycle – a word he mispronounced in court – which he said had been confiscated by the army.
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