UN experts call for inquiry into Lebanese activist's murder

UN experts call for inquiry into Lebanese activist's murder
2 min read
23 March, 2021
UN human rights experts have urged Beirut to probe the murder of prominent Hezbollah critic Lokman Slim.
The brutal killing of prominent Lebanese intellectual and activist Lokman Slim [Getty]
The brutal killing of prominent Lebanese intellectual and activist Lokman Slim must be investigated in a "credible and effective" way, UN human rights experts urged the Lebanese government in a statement on Monday.

The experts include UN rapporteur on extrajudicial killings Agnes Callamard; Diego Garcia-Sayan, special rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers; and Irene Khan, special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression.

Slim, an academic and leading secular voice from the Shia community, was routinely criticised and often threatened over his stance against the powerful Islamist movement Hezbollah. He was shot dead in a rental car in the country's south early last month.

Hezbollah has denied involvement in the assassination.

"More than a month after Mr. Slim's murder, the investigatory steps taken at [a] national level have led to no meaningful result raising concerns as to the effectiveness of the current investigation," the experts said.

"The Government should urgently implement measures to guarantee the independence and the impartiality of the investigation and ensure that those responsible are identified and held accountable," they said, urging Beirut to consider requesting international technical assistance to investigate Slim's killing.

Read also: With Lokman Slim's assassination, Lebanon sinks even further into impunity 

Lebanese security sources did not elaborate on the circumstances around the killing but Slim's own sister said, before his death was even confirmed, that his disappearance was inevitably linked to his opinions.

Hezbollah and its allies have a strong influence on the Lebanese government, including the security forces tasked with conducting the probe. Slim's family has called for an international investigation.

"The killing of Mr. Slim appears to be linked to his civic engagement and to be emblematic of the regression of Lebanon civic space, in the context of a reported surge of arrests, intimidations, threats and violence against human rights defenders, journalists and activists," the experts said.

"We are deeply concerned that the murder of Mr. Slim in the event of a lack of accountability may have a profound chilling effect on freedom of expression in Lebanon."

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