The Military Tribunal sentenced two men to 10 years in prison Tuesday for plotting to assassinate Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Joumblatt in 2016. The court, headed by Brig. Gen. Hussein Abdullah, sentenced the two suspects Lebanese national and ex-PSP figure Munir Fakher and Syrian national Mohanad Mousa in absentia, as they are both at large. The sentence also included arrest warrants, five years of hard labor for Fakher and three years of hard labor for Mousa. They were additionally stripped of their civil rights.
Fakher, known as “Cowboy” during the Lebanese Civil War, was arrested in August 2016. A U.S. resident with American citizenship, he was arrested after arriving in Lebanon on a visit. He and Mousa were indicted a month later by Military Investigative Judge Riad Abu Ghayda for plotting to assassinate the Druze leader at the behest of Syrian intelligence by November 2016.
Mousa had contacted Fakher in 2016 to tell him he wanted to “get rid of Joumblatt,” the 2016 indictment read. Fakher supported Mousa’s plan as he wanted to “take revenge on those responsible for my exile from Lebanon for 30 years,” he told the court in September 2016. Fakher had been an important PSP figure in Beirut between 1970 and 1980 but left Lebanon at the end of the Civil War in 1990. He had, however, denied having a role in the assassination plot and said he had only been in contact with Mousa via email.
In the original indictment, both were accused of forming a militant group and collaborating with people close to Israel, including Mandi al-Safadi, an Israeli national with reportedly close ties to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Two others were also sentenced during Tuesday’s tribunal session for forming the militant group with Fakher and Mousa.
Lebanese national Hamoud Khaled Awad was sentenced to five years of hard labor, stripped of his civil rights and fined LL250 million ($165,000). Naji Najjar, another Lebanese national, who was also accused of working with Syria to acquire weapons and financing, was sentenced to three years of hard labor and stripped of his civil rights.
Fakher posted LL10 million bail in December 2017 after promising to attend a tribunal hearing, but has been in hiding ever since. The three other defendants were never caught.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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