Lebanese ex-'collaborator' killed after colleague escapes
BEIRUT, Lebanon – A Lebanese ex-militiaman accused of collaborating with Israel during the civil war was shot dead Sunday, March 22, state media and a judicial source said, days after another was spirited out of the country.
The National News Agency said a retired security forces member it named as A. H. had been shot dead in his shop in the southern town of Mieh Mieh by an unknown perpetrator.
The judicial source said the man killed was Antoine al-Hayek, a former warden at an infamous prison set up under Israeli occupation during the 1975-1990 civil war.
The Khiyam prison was opened in 1984 by the South Lebanon Army, a Christian-led militia accused of collaborating with Israel after the Jewish state invaded the south in 1978.
Hayek was accused of killing two prisoners during a riot at the jail in 1989. He was brought to trial after the war in 2001, but then released because of a statute of limitations, the judicial source said.
The prison's senior warden Amer al-Fakhoury was likewise accused of murder over this case.
Sunday's killing comes just days after Fakhoury was whisked to the Unites States despite a travel ban, sparking anger across Lebanon, including among former detainees.
Witnesses also accuse Fakhoury of ordering or taking part in beatings of thousands of inmates.
The 57-year-old Lebanese-American went into exile two decades ago and was sentenced in absentia for collaborating with neighboring Israel.
He was arrested when he returned to Lebanon in September, but then released on Monday, due to the statute of limitations.
US President Donald Trump on Thursday hailed his return to the United States, despite the Lebanese travel ban.
A Lebanese security source said he was air-lifted out of the US embassy in a helicopter.
There was no official statement on the motive for Hayek's killing, but the judicial source said it could be linked to the Fakhoury case.
The head of powerful Shiite movement Hezbollah on Friday condemned "strong American pressures" on political officials and judges in Lebanon to obtain Fakhoury's release.
Hezbollah is largely credited among its supporters with Israel's withdrawal from southern Israel in 2000. – Rappler.com