Fears rise for Lebanese musician missing in Saudi Arabia

Fears rise for Lebanese musician missing in Saudi Arabia
2 min read
28 April, 2021
Samir Sfeir has reportedly been arresting in Saudi Arabia, on unknown charges.
The Saudi authorities have not commented on Sfeir's disappearance [Getty]
Famed Lebanese music composer Samir Sfeir is feared to have been detained in Saudi Arabia, after disappearing on his arrival in the kingdom over a week ago.

Sfeir, who is a supporter of Lebanese President Michel Aoun and has sung for and in support of him, had received an official invitation to visit Riyadh

Lebanese Al-Akhbar newspaper reported that official sources at the Lebanese ministry of foreign affairs had contacted the Saudi embassy regarding the musicians arrest. It was reported that his wife had travelled to see him, but was prevented until yesterday evening. 

News of Sfeir’s arrest sparked outrage among Lebanese people, who took to social media to record their outrage. 

"Where is Samir Sfeir? Reveal his fate immediately," said Salim Aoun, a Lebanese member of parliament. 

"What are the reasons for arrest? What is the charge against him? Was he permitted to contact the Lebanese consulate or hire a lawyer? Arrest without clear charges, or allowing the accused to appoint a lawyer, is in violation of international laws," said Amani Juha on Twitter.

While Sfeir has a Saudi residency permit he has also been a vocal critic of the kingdom. 

During one TV interview, the musician accused Saudi Arabia of exporting terrorism and spending money on arms deals and aircraft, while impoverishing their own people. 

No charges have been announced by the Saudi authorities.

Read more: How Lebanon's supermarkets became a frontline in the fight to survive the economic crisis

In 2017, Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri travelled to Saudi Arabia, where he was believed to have been detained and forced to resign his position as premier. 

Reknowned journalist Jamal Khashoggi was invited to the Saudi embassy in Istanbul, where he was then brutally murdered and dismembered.

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