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After three years, there is still no significant progress in Samir Kassir murder investigation

After three years, there is still no significant progress in Samir Kassir murder investigation
Gruesome murder: Samir Kassir was killed when a bomb planted in his car exploded on the morning of June 2, 2005 outside his home in the neighbourhood of Achrafieh in East Beirut.

Three years after the murder of Franco-Lebanese journalist Samir Kassir in Beirut, French and Lebanese judicial authorities continue to be slow and callous in their response in this case in which no suspect has been detained or charged.

Kassir’s widow, Giselle Khoury, has almost given up as she says, "Resolution seems to me to be very far away, too far. The many political changes, not only in Lebanon but also throughout the region, are able to destabilise the investigation. That is why I count above all on the parallel judicial proceedings being conducted in France.”

Samir Kassir was killed when a bomb planted in his car exploded on the morning of June 2, 2005 outside his home in the neighbourhood of Achrafieh in East Beirut. A writer and historian, he was a columnist for the daily An-Nahar and a professor of political sciences at Beirut’s St Joseph university.

The day after Kassir’s murder, the Kassir family asked the French authorities to carry out their own investigation.

Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) says, “We understand that justice must take its course and that the case is being affected by political developments in Lebanon, but it is nonetheless disturbing that Kassir’s murderers are still free three years later. Lebanese journalists will not be able to feel really safe in their country as long as this unacceptable impunity lasts.”

Khoury’s lawyer, William Bourdon, says the French judge in charge of the case was doing “everything possible for his investigation to move ahead quickly.”

The mandate of the United Nations commission of enquiry into former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri’s assassination has meanwhile been extended until December 15. The commission is supposed to assist the investigations into the score of other political murders in Lebanon since 2004, including Kassir’s, and could facilitate the work of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, created in 2007, when hearings start in the Hague.

Daniel Bellemare, the head of the commission and the tribunal’s future prosecutor, notes in his latest report that the Hariri assassination could have been carried out by a “criminal network” of individuals involved in other bombings in Lebanon. Various similarities have been noted, including in the modus operandi and the kind of victim.

Date posted: June 6, 2008 Date modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 2197