Lebanon News

Alaa Abou Fakher's family says final goodbyes

Relatives mourn Alaa Abou Fakher during his funeral in Chouaifet, Nov. 14, 2019. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)

BEIRUT: Hundreds gathered in Choueifat to mourn Alaa Abou Fakher, called "the revolution’s martyr" by some, as his body was laid to rest Thursday.

Abou Fakher, who was shot late Tuesday night during a protest in Khaldeh by a high-ranking member of Army Intelligence, has become an icon of the uprising that started on Oct. 17.

His family gathered in Choueifat to say goodbye. Dozens of flower wreaths surrounded his coffin as his wife held his hand and cried.

“We only have the country for which we have fought for,” said MP Teymour Joumblatt, the son of the Progressive Socialist Party leader, during a speech at the funeral, adding that “we resort to reason and call for a fair and independent judiciary to do justice to Alaa’s blood.”

Alaa’s brother directed a call to protesters, saying, “Don’t be afraid, and continue Alaa’s journey."

“There is no alternative to the judiciary and we demand that Col. Nidal Daou, his aide and whoever is involved in the event be put on trial,” he said.

Daou was the senior Army Intelligence officer at the scene of the killing, according to a security source.

Also present at Thursday's funeral were Caretaker Education Minister Akram Chehayeb, also of the PSP, and caretaker Minister of State for Administrative Development May Chidiac of the Lebanese Forces.

Caretaker Defense Minister Elias Bou Saab called on military courts to launch a quick investigation for “the painful event that took away Alaa’s life in front of his family, friends and the Lebanese people,” in a tweet Thursday.

Abou Fakher, a 38-year-old father of three, was killed in front of his wife and young son. His son arrived to say goodbye, holding the Lebanese flag as his mom told him, "Don't cry, you're a hero."

Videos circulating online of the incident showed Abou Fakher lying in a pool of blood, his child screaming, “Baba, please don’t die.” Other pictures show a woman trying to shield the child’s face from the scene.

The child was also present at the hall where condolences were accepted Thursday.

Around the blood, protesters laid flowers and candles in the shape of a map of Lebanon. Abou Fakher’s pictures were held up around the country by protesters.

The Army identified the shooter as Army Intelligence 1st Adjutant Charbel Ajeil. He was arrested and referred to the judiciary after the Army completed investigations into Tuesday’s incident.

A security source told The Daily Star Wednesday that Ajeil was driving a vehicle for Daou, a member of the Army’s Mount Lebanon Intelligence Branch. A roadblock was placed in front of them and protesters refused to let the vehicle pass.

This escalated into a verbal argument between Abou Fakher and Daou. A physical altercation ensued. Four shots were fired into the air in an attempt to disperse the protesters, the source said.

The Lebanese Army released a statement late Tuesday saying that one of the soldiers fired to disperse protesters as an Army vehicle passed by, and that one person had been hit by a bullet.

The security source confirmed that Abou Fakher and Daou are relatives and "knew each other very well."

 

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