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The New Arab Staff

US ambassador slams 'barbaric' murder of Hezbollah critic Lokman Slim at emotional funeral

Both the Swiss (left) and American (right) ambassadors attended Slim's funeral [Getty]

Date of publication: 11 February, 2021

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Ambassador Shea has been outspoken in her criticism of Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.
The outspoken US ambassador to Lebanon joined huge numbers of activists, friends and relatives at the funeral of murdered anti-Hezbollah campaigner Lokman Slim on Thursday.

Slim's killing last week was a "barbaric act, unforgivable and unacceptable", Ambassador Dorothy Shea told mourners at the ceremony held in Beirut's Dahiya district.

The activist, also a researcher and documentarian of Lebanon's decades-long civil war, was shot dead last Thursday.

While Hezbollah has condemned the murder, advocates - including Slim's sister - have suggested he was killed over his opposition to the powerful militant group.

Ambassador Shea has also been an outspoken critic of Hezbollah.

She was briefly banned last year from talking to local news outlets after she criticised Hezbollah in a media interview. Shea was also summoned by Lebanon's foreign minister, who accused her of "interfering in the internal affairs of another country".

Her attendance at the activist's funeral marks a rare visit to Dahiya, the southern suburb of Beirut that is a traditional stronghold for Hezbollah but was also home to Slim.

The service was also attended by the ambassadors of Germany, Canada, Switzerland and the UK.

It included both Muslim and Christian prayers for the late researcher.

Slim's mother, Salma Merchak, urged young Lebanese to forego arms and embrace political dialogue.

"I ask you, the young, if you really want a nation to continue with the principles that he fought for and was convinced of," she told mourners.

"Use only your logic and reason. Weapons don't benefit the country. They didn't benefit me - I lost my son."

Slim was found dead in his car last week, with four gunshot wounds to his head and one to his back in an apparent assassination.

He was one of the most vocal and well-known Shia Muslim critics of Hezbollah operating a cultural centre, as well as living in, the Beirut stronghold of the Islamist movement.

Slim had received death threats in late 2019, during a time of large protests against the Hezbollah-backed Lebanese government.

No Lebanese politicians attended Slim's funeral, according to activists.

Slim's funeral was attended by family, activists, diplomats, and activists [Getty]


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