Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Prominent Critic of Hezbollah Shot Dead, Prompting Public Anger

Thu 04 Feb 2021 | 02:22 PM
Yassmine Elsayed

This morning, Lokman Slim, a prominent Lebanese activist and intellectual known for his opposition to the Shiite movement Hezbollah, was found dead in his car in the country's south, prompting public anger.

Slim, 58, a leading secular voice in the Shiite community, was routinely criticized, and often threatened, over his anti-Hezbollah stance.

"He was found dead in his car, killed by a bullet to the head," a senior security official told AFP on condition of anonymity. Lebanese media also reported Slim's death.

The circumstances of his death was not immediately clear, but his sister said before his death was even confirmed that his disappearance was inevitably linked to his opinions.

"He had a political stance, why else would he have been kidnapped," Rasha al-Ameer told AFP.

The slain scholar was often accused by Hezbollah supporters as being an instrument by the United States.

Mean while, Lebanese social media heavily reacted to the news, while many were already commenting as the latest in the long list of Lebanon's political assassinations.

The slain scholar had founded an organization called Umam Documentation and Research aimed at archiving Lebanon's violent past with the aim of raising awareness and preventing further conflict. The secular intellectual and pro-democracy activist had made several documentary films with his wife Monika Borgmann and also worked in publishing.

Interior Minister Mohammed Fahmi, quoted in local media, called Slim's killing a "horrible crime".

When a cross-sectarian pro-democracy protest movement was still gathering daily and occupying parts of central Beirut in late 2019, thugs loyal to Hezbollah plastered messages on the walls of the late scholar Beirut home calling him a traitor and warning that his "time will come".

Back then, Slim said that he would held the leaders of Hezbollah and Amal, Hassan Nasrallah and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri respectively responsible, should anything happen to him or his family.

Slim's murder comes as Lebanon marked six months since a devastating blast at Beirut port killed more than 200 people and ravaged entire neighbourhoods of the capital.

On his part, the United Nations envoy to Lebanon Jan Kubis wrote that he was saddened by Slim's murder, describing him as "an honest independent voice of courage".

He also said that, unlike the port blast, Slim's murder should be investigated in a "speedy and transparent way".