The man known as the ‘butcher of Khiam’ in Lebanon has returned to the country of birth and his return is being severely criticized by its citizens and all over social media.
Amer Elias Fakhouri worked as an Israeli agent in Lebanon till the time, Israel withdrew its forces. Fakhouri left Lebanon to get safe passage out to Israel and the United States but was later tried in court and sentenced in absentia to 15 years’ imprisonment with hard labor in 1998.
He now returns with two distinct points of view being discussed over social media of whether he should be allowed into Lebanon at all or not. He was known to have persecuted fellow Lebanese on the orders of the then Israeli Occupation Forces, which supervised and ran a detention camp through the South Lebanon Army (SLA) militia, led by Antoine Lahad.
Fakhouri was then the commander of a military battalion guarding this notorious Israeli detention camp called the Khiam, in southern Lebanon during the 22-year Israeli occupation.
According to judicial expert Katia Toa who spoke to the media about the arrival of the Israeli agent, “The first view holds that the sentence in absentia is 20 years old. This should have been dropped with time. Therefore, it holds now, that he has a right to return to Lebanon in a normal manner. But a second view says that Fakhouri’s offense is a persistent offense, and thus it cannot be dropped with time. He must be tried again to determine his legal status in Lebanon.”
It was reported in the local media that as many as 34 lawyers and 10 freed prisoners have already filed a complaint with the Public Prosecution Office against Fakhouri. Dozens of former Khiam prisoners with their families have said to have gathered outside the military court building in Beirut to demand that Fakhouri be punished for his crimes.
They shared that Fakhouri was well known for his creative torture methods. It seems that a few months back, the leader of the Free Patriotic Movement, Minister Gebran Bassil had talked about implementing the law for the return of Lebanese fugitives to Israel.
But in Fakhhouri’s case, forgiveness does not seem to be coming as a natural consequence of this. In fact, it seems to make people relive the horrors of what has passed them under Israel’s oppressive rule.