Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Lebanon: Independent investigation into checkpoint killings needed

21 May 2012

"A prominent Lebanese cleric opposed to the Syrian government and another man travelling with him have been shot dead at a checkpoint in northern Lebanon, prompting Amnesty International to urge the Lebanese authorities to launch an independent investigation rather than one carried out by the army or other security forces.

Sheikh Ahmad Abdel-Wahed, a critic of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his government, and Muhammad Hussein Merheb were shot dead on Sunday near a checkpoint in Kouaikhat in the northern Akkar region.

Three other people are reported to have been killed in clashes between rival groups in the wake of the checkpoint shootings.

It’s vital the probe into these killings is carried out by an independent body. It must be thorough, prompt and impartial as required under international human rights standards and anyone found responsible for abuses must be brought to justice without resort to the death penalty,” said Ann Harrison, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa......"

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