Lamsters of Arabia: 10 fugitives from the Middle East

Published October 14th, 2016 - 09:36 GMT

Surely you’ve heard about China’s "fox hunt" campaign, a security initiative to track down wayward Chinese officials and executives hiding overseas. More than 850 fugitives were repatriated last year thanks to Beijing’s global search. But what about Arabs on the lam?

Every nation has its fugitives - criminal characters and shady entrepreneurs who flee their homeland to escape justice. Arabia’s “most wanted” may be Dr. Ayman Mohammed Rabie al-Zawahiri, the al-Qaeda head with a hand in terror attacks on four continents. His words pop up in media, but his exact whereabouts are a mystery. (Spot him and earn a $25 million reward from the US state department!)

But sometimes the lamsters are simply seeking freedom to speak their minds, progress their political agenda, and avoid persecution. Now you see them, now you don't! Take a look at some regional runaways. 

 

 
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Muhammed Fethullah Gülen

Since 1999, 75-year old former Turkish imam Muhammed Gülen has lived in self-imposed exile in the US. He founded the Gülen movement (Hizmet), an Islamic ideology that emphasises altruism and education, operating schools in over 180 countries. Turkey classifies it as a terror group and blames Hizmet for last July's failed coup against Erdoğan.

Qayum Karzai

Qayum Karzai had planned a run for the 2014 Afghan presidential election but quit the race under pressure from his younger bro, then-president Hamid Karzai. Qayum now serves people in a different way - dishing up meals in his US restaurants. The Maryland resident owns four eateries in Baltimore, one (The Helmand) cooks up Afghani specialties.

Émile Jamil Lahoud

Where's Émile? Émile Jamil Lahoud was president of Lebanon, serving from 1998 to 2007. Druze leader Walid Jumblatt publicly described the unpopular Lahoud as a "helpless ghost". He remains ghostlike. It's uncertain if he lives in Lebanon, and occasionally surfacing in the media indicating that he's still alive.

Antoine Lahud

Antoine Lahud led the South Lebanon Army (SLA) from 1984 to 2000, until Israeli forces withdrew from Lebanon and the SLA dissolved. France denied him resettlement, so he moved to Israel where he lived his last years. In 2014, a Lebanese court sentenced him to death in absentia for High Treason (and other war crimes). He died last year in Paris.

Maamoun Homsi

Former Syrian MP and longtime Assad opponent, Mamoun al-Homsi now runs a coffee wagon on the streets of Vancouver. Known for his anti-Alawite rhetoric, he was imprisoned for five years for his protests against human rights abuses. In 2006, he fled to Lebanon where he lobbied for global support for Syrian democracy. He defected to Canada in 2010.

Hannibal Qaddafi

Muammar Gaddafi's son Hannibal fled to Algeria after the 2011 fall of Tripoli. He moved on to Oman, then Syria, where he was kidnapped by members of the Amal Movement, a Shia-linked Lebanese political party, as retribution for the decades-ago Libyan disappearance of its founding imam Moussa al-Sadr. Hannibal is in Lebanon, not allowed to leave.

Weld 15

Tunisian rapper Weld 15 collaborated with fellow rapper Marwan al-Dwiri on a song called "Cops Are Dogs" that got them arrested and sentenced to two years in prison, but the duo fled to France. Weld is still releasing songs and videos from an undisclosed location, but al-Dwiri is suspected to have become an ISIS fighter in Iraq.

Saad Lamjarred

Moroccan singer Saad Lamjarred is reportedly on the run, avoiding rape charges from a 2010 assault on a woman in New York. The victim's lawyer claims that Lamjarred was “arrested and indicted, and after posting bail, immediately fled the country." Lamjarred is touring Europe, essentially a fugitive, staying ahead of extradition.

Ben Ali

Tunisia's ousted president Ben Ali fled Tunisia to the Red Sea city of Jeddah with his second wife, Leila Trabelsi, after being sentenced for 35 years in prison for corruption and graft. Although he releases periodic updates via his Lebanese lawyer, his movements and daily activities during his five year exile remain a mystery.

Mordechai Vanunu

Mordechai Vanunu lam-plans were foiled by the Mossad. In ‘86 he went to the UK to spill the beans on Israel’s nuclear weapons program, but spies lured him to Italy, then kidnapped him back to Israel. Jailed 18-years for divulging state secrets, he was released in '04 and forbidden to leave Israel.

Muhammed Fethullah Gülen
Qayum Karzai
Émile Jamil Lahoud
Antoine Lahud
Maamoun Homsi
Hannibal Qaddafi
Weld 15
Saad Lamjarred
Ben Ali
Mordechai Vanunu
Muhammed Fethullah Gülen
Since 1999, 75-year old former Turkish imam Muhammed Gülen has lived in self-imposed exile in the US. He founded the Gülen movement (Hizmet), an Islamic ideology that emphasises altruism and education, operating schools in over 180 countries. Turkey classifies it as a terror group and blames Hizmet for last July's failed coup against Erdoğan.
Qayum Karzai
Qayum Karzai had planned a run for the 2014 Afghan presidential election but quit the race under pressure from his younger bro, then-president Hamid Karzai. Qayum now serves people in a different way - dishing up meals in his US restaurants. The Maryland resident owns four eateries in Baltimore, one (The Helmand) cooks up Afghani specialties.
Émile Jamil Lahoud
Where's Émile? Émile Jamil Lahoud was president of Lebanon, serving from 1998 to 2007. Druze leader Walid Jumblatt publicly described the unpopular Lahoud as a "helpless ghost". He remains ghostlike. It's uncertain if he lives in Lebanon, and occasionally surfacing in the media indicating that he's still alive.
Antoine Lahud
Antoine Lahud led the South Lebanon Army (SLA) from 1984 to 2000, until Israeli forces withdrew from Lebanon and the SLA dissolved. France denied him resettlement, so he moved to Israel where he lived his last years. In 2014, a Lebanese court sentenced him to death in absentia for High Treason (and other war crimes). He died last year in Paris.
Maamoun Homsi
Former Syrian MP and longtime Assad opponent, Mamoun al-Homsi now runs a coffee wagon on the streets of Vancouver. Known for his anti-Alawite rhetoric, he was imprisoned for five years for his protests against human rights abuses. In 2006, he fled to Lebanon where he lobbied for global support for Syrian democracy. He defected to Canada in 2010.
Hannibal Qaddafi
Muammar Gaddafi's son Hannibal fled to Algeria after the 2011 fall of Tripoli. He moved on to Oman, then Syria, where he was kidnapped by members of the Amal Movement, a Shia-linked Lebanese political party, as retribution for the decades-ago Libyan disappearance of its founding imam Moussa al-Sadr. Hannibal is in Lebanon, not allowed to leave.
Weld 15
Tunisian rapper Weld 15 collaborated with fellow rapper Marwan al-Dwiri on a song called "Cops Are Dogs" that got them arrested and sentenced to two years in prison, but the duo fled to France. Weld is still releasing songs and videos from an undisclosed location, but al-Dwiri is suspected to have become an ISIS fighter in Iraq.
Saad Lamjarred
Moroccan singer Saad Lamjarred is reportedly on the run, avoiding rape charges from a 2010 assault on a woman in New York. The victim's lawyer claims that Lamjarred was “arrested and indicted, and after posting bail, immediately fled the country." Lamjarred is touring Europe, essentially a fugitive, staying ahead of extradition.
Ben Ali
Tunisia's ousted president Ben Ali fled Tunisia to the Red Sea city of Jeddah with his second wife, Leila Trabelsi, after being sentenced for 35 years in prison for corruption and graft. Although he releases periodic updates via his Lebanese lawyer, his movements and daily activities during his five year exile remain a mystery.
Mordechai Vanunu
Mordechai Vanunu lam-plans were foiled by the Mossad. In ‘86 he went to the UK to spill the beans on Israel’s nuclear weapons program, but spies lured him to Italy, then kidnapped him back to Israel. Jailed 18-years for divulging state secrets, he was released in '04 and forbidden to leave Israel.

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