BEIRUT: Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt said Monday those behind the attempted assassination of MP Butros Harb must be brought to justice, and questioned the release of several suspects in the case of the recent killing of two Muslim sheikhs.
“We urge that all the details be revealed in the attempted assassination that targeted MP Harb and that the culprits be brought to justice,” Jumblatt said in his weekly statement published in Al-Anbaa newspaper.
“Accepting the logic of political assassination, regardless of the target, is a dangerous matter and leads to severe consequences,” he added.
The security situation in Lebanon was shaken Thursday by a failed attempt to kill Harb, a leading figure in the March 14 coalition.
Explosive detonators were found on the ceiling of the elevator in the Badaro building housing Harb’s law office. Three men suspected of planting the devices escaped.
Jumblatt said those behind the incident “seem not to understand that the more attempted assassinations, the more people become insistent on retaining their freedom and democracy.”
Jumblatt also cited the danger of laxity when it comes to the issue of Lebanese collaborators with Israel and the commuting of their sentences.
He was likely alluding to the release of a number of individuals who’d been convicted of either collaborating or contacting Israel.
Retired Lebanese Army Brig. Gen Fayez Karam was arrested in 2010 and sentenced to two years in prison for providing Israeli intelligence with information on Hezbollah and the Free Patriotic Movement. He was released in April after spending one year and eight months behind bars, benefiting from a new law that reduces the prison year from 12 to nine months.
In June, the former mayor of the Bekaa town of Saadnayel was released after serving three years in prison for collaborating with Israeli intelligence. The man, originally sentenced to 15 years in prison with hard labor, was released by a decision issued by the Military Appeals Court. He had served three years and 10 days in prison.
In his weekly statement, the PSP leader also questioned the release of Lebanese Army soldiers allegedly involved in the May 20 killing of Sheikhs Ahmad Abdel-Wahed and his companion Mohammad Hussein al-Mereb in north Lebanon.
Jumblatt wondered how it is that “some are released before indictments are issued and before they are held accountable, particularly in the case of the killing of Sheikh Ahmad Abdel-Wahed and his companion?”
Three Lebanese Army officers and eight soldiers allegedly involved in the case were released on bail last Thursday. Five soldiers remain in custody in connection to the killing.
Jumblatt implicitly contrasted the release of the military personnel with the continued detention of Wisam Alaaedine, who faces charges of attempted murder over his alleged involvement in a recent attack on Al-Jadeed television station.
“I commend Judge [Nada] Dakroub who objected to the release of one of those involved in the attack on Al-Jadeed, which demonstrates that there are brave judges in the judiciary who do not succumb to pressure, and who do what their professional conscience and national duty enjoin upon them.”