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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Army Officers Charged over 'Black Sunday' Incidents


The Lebanese government commissioner at the Military Tribunal, Judge Jean Fahd, charged 79 people, including three army officers, 16 soldiers and 60 civilians, for their role in the 'Black Sunday' incidents that took place on January 27 leaving seven martyrs and 50 injured civilians.

The charges included murder, violation of military instructions, possession of unlicensed arms and causing unrest, setting rubber tires and tossing hand grenades.

Two officers (Majors) and 11 soldiers were accused of "involuntary manslaughter" for shooting into the crowd during demonstrations against blackout. One officer (Colonel) and five soldiers were charged with violating military orders. 60 civilians were also charged with causing unrest as well as attacking soldiers, 53 of them in absentia.

According to the charge sheet, six of the martyrs were killed by army bullets. However, a probe is still underway to determine who killed Ahmad Hamza, the Amal movement officer of coordination with the Lebanese Army, who was shot in the back while trying to pacify the situation.

Hence, the first phase of the investigation into the Black Sunday crime is over. If convicted, those charged could be sentenced from 5 years in prison to capital punishment.

The file would now pass from the Government Commissioner to the Examining Magistrate to issue an indictment. The case would be submitted to the permanent military court. The sheet of charges did not mention the snipers who were caught on camera during the demonstrations, yet the families of seven martyrs and the injured will not have their wounds closed before the final results and the verdict.

( It is interesting to note how far the various parties in Lebanon willing to go and commit themselves to other external elements for the sake of power and at the expense of their Arab unity.)

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