Lebanese publisher who was critical of Hezbollah shot dead in car

15:26pm, Thu 04 Feb 2021
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A prominent Lebanese publisher and vocal critic of the Shiite militant group Hezbollah has been shot dead in his car.

Lokman Slim a 58-year-old Shiite political activist and researcher, was found in his car on a rural road near the southern village of Addoussieh.

A forensic coroner on the scene said Mr Slim was shot in the chest, head and neck.

A security official at the scene said Mr Slim’s ID, phone and gun were missing.

Mr Slim, who was returning to Beirut from a visit to the south, had been missing for hours, security officials and his family said.

Lebanon Slim (AP)

A resident of Addoussieh said the car was found on the rural road before midnight.

Slim’s wife Monika Borgmann and sister Rasha al-Ameer had earlier posted on social media that Slim had not answered his phone for hours and had not been seen since Wednesday evening.

Ms Al-Ameer said she learned of Mr Slim’s death from news reports as she was filing a missing person’s form.

The circumstances of Mr Slim’s death were not clear and a security official in Beirut said an investigation is under way to determine what happened.

Interior Minister Mohammad Fahmi, speaking to local TV station MTV, called it a “horrific crime”.

Mr Slim and his wife lived in the southern suburbs of Beirut, where they ran Umam Research and Productions, a research centre and film production house. His family also owns a publishing business and Mr Slim hosted public debates and political forums and art shows.

“It is a big tragedy,” said Makram Rabah, a close friend and history lecturer. “Anyone who knows Lokman, they know who his enemies are.”

Mr Rabah said he and Mr Slim were strong opponents of Hezbollah’s grip on power and called for sovereignty and diversity in Lebanon

They were both attacked by a group of young men during a public debate at the height of anti-government protests in 2019. Mr Slim at the time accused Hezbollah supporters of being behind the attack.

He also accused Hezbollah supporters of threatening him at his home, holding rallies and hanging posters on its walls accusing him of treason.

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