16 December 2022

Uber driver convicted of murdering UK embassy worker in Lebanon loses appeal

16 December 2022

A Lebanese court has upheld the death sentence for an Uber driver convicted of killing a British woman who worked for the UK Embassy in Beirut five years ago.

According to a statement from the embassy, Lebanon’s Court of Cassation rejected an appeal by Tariq Houshieh and confirmed his conviction for the killing of Rebecca Dykes.

The 30-year-old, who worked for the Department for International Development, was found dead on December 16 2017 on the side of a road. She had been strangled and there were signs she had been sexually assaulted. Houshieh was arrested days later.

The murder shook the expat community in Beirut, where such crimes are rare and where foreigners generally feel safe.

“We hope this verdict will bring some closure for Becky’s family, for the many around the world who loved Becky, and for all those whose lives she touched through her humanitarian work in Lebanon and elsewhere,” the embassy said.

Ms Dykes’ family, in a separate statement carried by Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency, said the final verdict followed multiple delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic, court employee strikes and other issues.

The final ruling is “an occasion to remember Rebecca as a young woman who had dedicated her short life to the victims of war and misery”, the statement said. “Her family had never seen Rebecca as motivated and happy as she was during her stay in Lebanon.”

After her death, Ms Dykes’ family and friends set up a foundation in her name “dedicated to the creation of stable communities in Lebanon”.

Houshieh was sentenced to death in 2019 although there is a de facto moratorium on capital punishment in Lebanon. No executions have been carried out since 2004.

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