Lebanon Resumes Capital Punishment

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 19, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Lebanon’s decision to resume capital punishment after a five-year moratorium has drawn international criticism, according to Vatican Radio.

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The first three death sentences were carried out Saturday in a prison in Beirut. The offenders — Ahmed Mansour, Badie Hamadeh and Remi Zaatar — were executed at dawn at Roumieh prison, Vatican Radio reported that day.

Mansour, found guilty of murdering eight of his colleagues in a department of the Ministry of Education in July 2002, was hanged. Hamadeh and Zaatar were shot.

Hamadeh, also known as Abu Obeida, was believed to be a member of an extremist Muslim group Osbat al-Ansar, with headquarters in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain el Helu, the largest in Lebanon, located on the outskirts of Sidon.

On July 12, 2002, Hamadeh attacked a group of members of the Information Services of the Lebanese Army, who were trying to arrest him near Ain el Helu, killing two officials and a soldier, for which he was sentenced to death.

Zaatar was condemned for killing two members of the civil defense and a Syrian officer on July 1, 2000.

These were the first executions to be carried out since Emile Lahud took office as president of Lebanon in 1998.

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