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Conflict Incident Report

Protests erupt as third trial on Bachir Gemayel assassination begins

Date of incident: 
April 28, 2017
Death toll: 
Number of Injured: 
Actors/Parties Involved: 
Syrian Civilians/Refugees
Lebanese Civilians

Protests broke out in Beirut as the third trial investigating the assassination of former President-elect Bachir Gemayel began, the National News Agency reported.

Head of the Judicial Council Judge Jean Fahed presided over the trial at Beirut's Justice Palace, in which fugitive Habib Shartouni, who is believed to be living in Syria, is being prosecuted in absentia over the 1982 assassination of Gemayel.

Bachir's son and MP for Ashrafieh, Nadim Gemayel, and his cousin Metn MP Sami Gemayel were present.

Supporters of both the Syrian Social Nationalist Party and Kataeb closed the road in front of the Justice Palace as the trial proceeded, separated by riot police.

"He [Shartouni] is a hero the size of a nation," a representative from the SSNP told Al Jadeed.

"We ask for the honorable Lebanese state to put this case with the other cases from the civil war and end it," he added.

But Kataeb representative Patrick Risha told Al Jadeed that "they [the SSNP] killed Bashir Gemayel," asking "if there was a protest against the trial of Rafik Hariri or the martyrs of March 14 – what would they do now?"

"We are the politics of light and life," he said.

After the trial, Nadim Gemayel praised the progress being made in the case.

When asked about freedom of speech, Gemayel said that he believes that it is a right, but not in the case of terrorism and murder.

"We are very sorry that there are people who are proud of and encourage these criminal political acts and assassinations,” he said.

A court had adjourned the trial until Friday on March 3, 2017, when it had ruled to allocate all of Shartouni's property, strip him of his civil rights and put into effect an arrest warrant issued against him.

A member of the SSNP, Shartouni was charged with the assassination but never stood trial once the case was transferred to the Judicial Council.

He escaped prison in 1990 after Syrian troops stormed east Beirut.

Bachir Gemayel, members of his Kataeb Party and innocent bystanders were killed when a bomb exploded at the party’s headquarters in the Beirut neighborhood of Ashrafieh on Sept. 14, 1982.

He had been slated to be sworn in as president just nine days later, on Sept. 23.

This security incident was mapped according to the closest possible location.
Primary category: 
Collective Action [inc. protests, solidarity movements...]
Classification of conflict (primary): 
Policy conflicts
Conflicts associated with political decisions, government or state policies regarding matters of public concern, such as debates concerning law reforms, electoral laws, and protests of the government’s political decisions, among others.