|Addoum outraged as Phalange leader claims credit
Release of Ehden Massacre detainees raises storm
State Prosecutor Adnan Addoum on Monday lambasted Phalange Party president Karim
Pakradouni for taking credit in the release of four people detained following the
reopening of the Ehden Massacre case.
Pakradouni had claimed in remarks he made Sunday that the release of three people from the
Batroun villages of Kfar Abeida and one man from Kour was due to the personal
contacts he had made at the top level.
In response, Addoum contended that no one can influence the legal process in
Lebanon. Pakradouni later expressed gratitude to President Emile Lahoud for his
efforts to free the detainees, who were rounded up for questioning on Sunday concerning
the 1978 murder of former Minister Tony Franjieh by Lebanese Forces militiamen.
The late politician was the father of the current health minister, Suleiman Franjieh.
Addoum had stated Sunday that the four had simply been summoned during the course of
investigations and were not detained. Only a fifth person from Kfar Abeida had remained in
custody, whom Addoum said would be released within the next 48 hours, after his
interrogation was over.
As far as I know, Pakradouni is neither a magistrate nor an assistant state
prosecutor, Addoum told a news conference Monday at Beiruts Justice Palace.
He stressed that Pakradouni was only a president of a political party and was not
allowed to interfere in the legal process.
The state prosecutor further said that in Lebanon, there are laws and a justice minister
to whom the state prosecutors office reports exclusively.
Addoum explained that the case of the murder of Tony Franjieh was in the hands of the
judicial investigator, magistrate Abdullah Bitar.
He said that official warrants were issued for the five persons ordering them to be
available for the continuing of the Ehden Massacre case, which involved the deaths of Tony
Franjieh, his wife and daughter, and several dozen others.
Addoum asserted that the legal process in the case was not biased in favor of or
against anyone. In an indirect attack against the Maronite patriarch, Cardinal
Nasrallah Butros Sfeir, Addoum deplored remarks on the issue recently made by some
spiritual leaders. He warned that those who made such remarks should work
toward amending judicial laws.
The prosecutor said that some wartime murder cases were in the hands of the Judicial
Council and were not covered by the general amnesty decree, which was issued at the end of
Sfeir had expressed his astonishment that the authorities were investigating
the Tony Franjieh murder, and he went on to criticize the reopening of old civil war
Separately, a delegation of residents from Kfar Abeida on Monday thanked Sfeir for his
help in securing the release of the four local residents. The former captives expressed
their gratitude to Sfeir for his quick response to demands made after they were detained.
The delegates urged Sfeir to continue working to secure the release of Antoine Youssef and
Hanna Shallita, the latter detained since 1994, in order to stop opening wounds,
which only serve the interests of Lebanons enemies.
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