Lebanon charges 'Israeli collaborator' Amer Fakhoury with murder

'Butcher of Khiam': Lebanon charges 'Israeli collaborator' Amer Fakhoury with murder
2 min read
04 February, 2020
Amer Fakhoury, an American citizen, was a former member of the pro-Israel South Lebanon Army militia and a senior warden in the notorious SLA-run Khiam prison.
Amer Fakhoury was a former member of the pro-Israel South Lebanon Army militia. [Getty]

A military investigative judge on Tuesday charged Amer Fakhoury, a senior official of a former Israel-linked militia, with the murder and torture of Lebanese citizens allegedly committed during Israel's occupation of southern Lebanon.

Fakhoury, an American citizen, was a former member of the pro-Israel South Lebanon Army (SLA) militia and a senior warden in the notorious SLA-run Khiam prison.

Known as the 'Butcher of Khiam', he was detained in September after his return to Lebanon sparked widespread condemnation and revived accusations of torture.

However, he's undergoing cancer treatment, and it remains unclear if he'll be able to stand trial.

The judge, Najat Abu Shakra, referred Fakhoury to a military court where he will be tried, judicial officials said.

They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to the media. No date was set for the tribunal.

Read more: Amer Fakhoury's return to Lebanon sparks memory of leftist resistance

The officials said Abu Shakra charged Fakhoury with "murder and attempted murder of prisoners inside Khiam Prison as well as kidnapping and torture".

The Khiam prison was abandoned after Israeli forces pulled out of southern Lebanon in 2000, ending an 18-year occupation of the territory.

Human rights groups have said that Khiam prison was at the time a site of torture and detention without trial. Israel denies the allegations.

Lebanon and Israel have been officially at war since Israel's creation in 1948. Lebanon bans it citizens from traveling to Israel or having any contact with Israelis.

The judge dropped charges of dealing with and visiting Israel because two decades have passed since the incidents making them outdated, the officials said.

The charges by the investigative judge were separate from a lawsuit against Fakhoury filed by former inmates at Khiam prison.

He's being questioned in that case about alleged atrocities. The questioning was supposed to take place on Monday, but was postponed until 17 February because Fakhoury is undergoing chemotherapy.

Fakhoury's family said doctors have said his condition is life threatening. In addition to an infection and a bleeding disorder, doctors believe he's developed an aggressive form of lymphoma.

Hundreds of former Lebanese members of the SLA militia had fled to Israel, fearing reprisals if they remained in Lebanon. Others stayed and faced trial, receiving lenient sentences.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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