His relatives initially believed in a kidnapping. It was an assassination. Lebanese activist and intellectual Lokman Slim, known for his critical positions against the Shiite Hezbollah movement, was found dead in his car on Thursday in the Al-Adoussiyeh region, in the south of the country, shot dead.
This Shiite researcher and essayist, committed to secularism and democracy and fervent opponent of the sectarianism that undermines Lebanese politics, had previously indicated that he had received threats because of his hostile positions against Hezbollah.
Slim’s wife Monika Borgmann and sister Rasha al-Ameern reported his disappearance on Wednesday evening. He was supposed to return to Beirut, where he lives, after visiting a friend in southern Lebanon, the stronghold of the Shiite movement. The medical examiner established that he had been shot five times in the head and one in the back, estimating the time of death at around 2 a.m. Thursday (1 a.m. French time).
Before the announcement of the death, Rasha al-Ameer had mentioned a kidnapping. “He had a (political) position. Why else could he have been kidnapped? She noted, without naming Hezbollah.
France condemns “with the greatest firmness”
In a brief statement released Thursday evening, Hezbollah condemned the murder and called on “the judiciary and security apparatus to act quickly to uncover and punish those responsible.”
On social networks, tributes poured in while France condemned “with the greatest firmness” the “odious” assassination of this Francophone and Francophile, calling “for the facts to be clearly established”, according to the door- word of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
US Ambassador Dorothy Shea blasted in a statement a “cowardly attack on the principles of democracy, freedom of expression.”
Human Rights Watch hailed Slim as a “tireless advocate […] for a just and democratic Lebanon ”, calling for an independent investigation to“ reverse the culture of impunity for the serious crimes that have continued since the civil war ”.
The researcher, who notably studied philosophy in Paris, has worked a lot on the issues of memory, reconciliation and on the issue of the missing after the Lebanese civil war (1975-1990), through his organization, Umam-DR. . His murder is reminiscent of the assassination of historian and intellectual Samir Kassir, killed in 2005 in Beirut.
Often attacked by the pro-Hezbollah press
Lokman Slim, who sometimes met senior American officials passing through Beirut, has often been attacked by the pro-Hezbollah press for positions deemed favorable to the United States.
A regular on television, he also denounced the political monopoly of the two Shiite heavyweights within the community, Hezbollah – the only faction not to have dismantled its military arsenal after the civil war – and Amal.
Slim lambasted the leaders of these two movements in December 2019, after two rallies to “threaten” him in front of his home in the suburbs of Beirut. “As a precaution in the event of an attack, verbal or physical, to come against me, my wife, my house or my relatives, I make them bear full responsibility […] of what happened, and of what could happen to Hassan Nasrallah and Nabih Berri, ”he wrote in a statement, referring to the respective leaders of Hezbollah and the Amal party, also president of Parliament. He notably mentioned posters pasted on his house accusing him of being a traitor.
Original article by : www.leparisien.fr