Seven years later... Al Asir’s punishment attained lightly and meaningless!

Seven years later... Al Asir’s punishment attained lightly and meaningless!

عمر الراسي | Tuesday 31 August 2021

Seven years after the events of Haneen, which led to the martyrdom of five soldiers from the Lebanese army, the permanent military court headed by Brigadier General P.S.C. Munir Shehadeh pronounced its verdict, bringing a 20-year prison sentence to “Sheikh” Ahmad Al Assir.
Yesterday, the military court concluded the trial in this file and listened to the argument of the representative of the Public Prosecution at the Military Court, who requested the application of the articles of indictment against the accused. It also listened to the pleading of the prisoner's attorney, lawyer Mohammad Sablouh, who asked his client to be acquitted for not being related to these events.
And it issued its verdict - subject to appeal - on the detainee captive of 20 years of hard labor with deprivation of civil rights and a fine of 51 million pounds, on the background of his involvement in the Haneen file in northern Lebanon, where he trained armed groups and manufactured explosive devices by military officials working with him, and some of them They are in Hanin battles against the Lebanese army, which led to the death of several soldiers, the wounding of others, and the destruction of property. He also financed armed terrorist groups with large sums of money.
Commenting on this ruling, a retired judicial authority said that “delayed justice is not justice,” explaining that after any crime, the rulings are supposed to calm people and society, and the delay does not serve this goal, because with time people forget and the wound is sealed, then people do not feel that This body - that is, the judiciary - performs its duties.
Also, minor crimes that may be associated with the main crime cannot be referred to the courts to decide on them, and here it can be said that social memory does not preserve such rulings, in which the punishment may not be as much as the perpetrator’s action.
The reference stated that Judge Dani Al Zaani, when he received the file when he was the government's deputy commissioner at the military court, accused the prisoner of crimes related to the establishment of terrorist cells, meaning that Al Asir was not only exposed to the army, but had a project that threatened the national security of the country, and led to its fragmentation.
Why was the judgment delayed? The reference answered a question - from which a lot is understood - Was one of them waiting for some settlement, somewhere similar to what happened in the cases related to Fatah Al Islam? He explained that a regional party was not behind the prisoner, and only who was paying him the expenses, who was financing his loyalists, where did he bring the weapons or who gave him the weapon and who paid him for this weapon... And all this leads to the question also: Who protected him, Specially since it was known that the man had a weapon and was leading a terrorist movement, and why did the military court take all this time when it was supposed to issue its verdicts quickly.
And when he saw that the "military" acted like the Judicial Council, which is described as the "cemetery of files", the reference reminded him that the army, and specifically the Intelligence Directorate, had all the investigations.
And what about the text of the ruling, as the reference described it as “mitigating”, especially because of the actions carried out by the prisoner and his aides and followers, which led to the death of several victims. Here, the reference talked about what the law calls a “minor reason” that should lead to a harsher penalty, so how if the goal is to kill members of the national army and civilians, sabotage an area, and burn property and cars... If all of these reasons do not lead to strict rules, What drives him... At least the sentence should have been life imprisonment or the death penalty.
And the reference continued: The prisoner is a criminal, not a religious man who cannot intentionally take lives. What happened in Abra and Haneen is a massacre, for which religion accepts the killing of innocents and the burning of an entire region.
In the context of his criticism of the ruling, the reference said: After 7 or 8 years, he will be released from prison, given that he has been imprisoned for 7 years and Al Assir year is only 9 months. The source pointed out that the ruling of the military court does not cure the pride of the army, which received a strong slap in the events of Haneen, nor the resentment of the families of the victims.
He was asked: Will this apply to the crime of the Beirut port explosion? The file referred to the forensic investigation needs a lot of time to be resolved, so let the judicial investigator, Tarek Bitar, be allowed first to at least listen to those who requested their interrogation. After the investigations, the trial sessions will begin, and the verdict will not be issued before 4 years at the earliest.
In September 2017, the military court had sentenced Sheikh Al Assir to death in the “Abra Incidents” case. It is known that death sentences are not carried out in Lebanon (or are rarely carried out), and are replaced by life imprisonment unless there is a presidential pardon. On June 24, 2013, armed confrontations took place between the Al Assir group and the Lebanese army, which resulted in the death of 18 soldiers in the army and 11 armed supporters of Al Assir.
On August 15, 2015, Al Assir was arrested at Beirut airport while trying to leave the country.

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