Lebanese radical cleric Ahmad al-Assir sentenced to death

Lebanese radical cleric Ahmad al-Assir sentenced to death over 2013 clashes, terror links
2 min read
28 September, 2017
A military court in Lebanon sentenced Islamist cleric Ahmed al-Assir over acts of terrorism and sentenced former singer-turned militant Fadl Shaker to 15 years imprisonment.
A radical cleric who was once Lebanon's best-known fugitive has been sentenced to death by a military court on Thursday.

Ahmad al-Assir was found guilty of terrorism charges for his involvement in deadly clashes with the Lebanese army in 2013 in the southern city of Sidon.

He was on trial alongside 33 other men on terrorism charges over the Abra clashes, which left 18 Lebanese soldiers dead.

After the sentence was passed, Assir said he refused "to recognise the court and its verdicts".

The court also sentenced former Lebanese singer Fadl Shaker, who backed Assir, to 15 years imprisonment.

Shaker was sentenced in absentia as he remains in hiding in the Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp.

The defence had filed on Wednesday a complaint to the UN, calling for the military court to adjourn over the "lack of fair trial", Lebanon's The Daily Star reported.

A crowd gathered outside the court on Thursday to protest Assir's trial, claiming that the Abra clashes were fuelled by Hizballah.

The crowd were heard shouting after the sentence was announced.

Read Also: Exclusive: The confessions of Ahmad al-Assir

Assir was captured on August 15 after more than two years on the run as he attempted to flee via Beirut airport using a fake passport and in disguise.

He was accused of "having formed an armed group with the goal of committing acts of terrorism and having killed and tried to kill Lebanese soldiers."

He also faced allegations of planning to assassinate political figures.

Assir was virtually unknown before the outbreak of Syria's civil war in 2011, but made headlines with fiery sermons against President Bashar al-Assad's regime and its ally, Lebanon's Hizballah movement.

In June 2013, his supporters in Sidon opened fire on a military checkpoint, sparking clashes with the army that killed 18 soldiers and 13 militants.

Assir escaped after the clashes, and had been on the run until his capture in 2015.