Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Judiciary moves to reopen Bashir Gemayel inquiry

Judiciary moves to reopen Bashir Gemayel inquiry
Suspects in 1982 killing wanted for interrogation

Daily Star staff

BEIRUT: A quarter-century after the assassination of then-President-elect Bashir Gemayel - and less than two months after the assassination of his nephew, Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel - a Beirut magistrate has set a date for a "preliminary interrogation" of two suspects in the 1982 slaying. Magistrate Antoine Kheir, the head of the Higher Judicial Council, announced on Monday that Habib Chartouni and Nabil Alam, the two men accused of assassinating Bashir Gemayel in September 1982, would be interrogated on February 1. Kheir posted notification of the interrogation and the suspects' latest known addresses on the door of the Higher Judicial Council, a judicial report said. The report added that the notice was also sent to the mukhtar of the region where Chartouni and Alam last resided, which was not disclosed. It was unclear whether the suspects are still in Lebanon. If Chartouni and Alam do not attend the interrogation session, they will be indicted on charges of ignoring the notice, according to the report.

Bashir Gemayel was killed by a bomb inside the headquarters of the Phalange Party in Achrafieh, Beirut, during an afternoon party meeting. While Chartouni is believed to have planted and detonated the device Alam, waited somewhere on the western side of the capital, authorities determined at the time. Chartouni was arrested at once. He confessed, first to his interrogators and later at a news conference, to detonating the bomb. Sources at the time said that former President Amin Gemayel, Bashir's eldest brother, did not bring Chartouni to trial because he did not want to enhance Bashir's status as a martyr. Meanwhile the Higher Judicial Council appointed Military Investigating Magistrate Adnan Bulbul as investigator into the November 21 assassination of Pierre Gemayel, the National News Agency reported on Monday. - The Daily Star

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