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US lawsuit against Gebran Bassil and Salim Jreissati for allegedly conspiring to kidnap and torture US-based plaintiffs reaches Lebanese government

US lawsuit  against Gebran Bassil and Salim Jreissati for allegedly conspiring to kidnap and torture US-based plaintiffs reaches Lebanese government

Free Patriotic Movement head Gebran Bassil. (Credit: AFP)

BEIRUT — The Lebanese government has been officially notified of a US civil suit against politicians Gibran Bassil and former Minister of Justice and Minister of Labor Salim Jreissati, in which two US-based plaintiffs allege they conspired to kidnap and torture them.

Here’s what we know:

    • According to Daraj, on May 17 the US Embassy delivered a copy of the complaint, which lays out the allegations in the suit, to the Lebanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Daraj reported that the documents will have to make their way to the Supreme Judicial Council then to the lower courts with jurisdiction over the defendants’ place of residence, a process that could take three months from their date of arrival.

    • The US Embassy did not immediately respond to a request for confirmation that the delivery to the Lebanese government had taken place. 

    • In a statement to L'Orient Today Majed Boueiz, one of the defendants named in the suit, who was also the Samaha's lawyer during their detention, denied all of the Samaha's claims, calling them "slanderous." He said their detention in Lebanon was the result of a Lebanese criminal complaint for slander filed against them by other defendants named in their suit. Boueiz said that neither himself nor Bassil have the authority to give instructions to the Information Division of the ISF. He also said he gave them proper legal representation during their detention, contrary to their allegations.

    • The Florida-based plaintiffs Elie and Lara Samaha allege that Bassil and Jreissati worked in tandem with relatives of Lara Samaha who sought to deprive her of a valuable inheritance. They claim the relatives went so far as to lure the two to Lebanon where they were detained by the Lebanese government in harsh conditions in a successful bid to force them to drop lawsuits to recover the inheritance. The US court subsequently ruled that their dismissal of their suits was coerced and reinstated the lawsuits.

    • The notification from the US embassy to the Lebanese government is significant because if the defendants do not respond to the lawsuit after being formally notified of it, they risk a judgment in absentia being issued against them.

UPDATE: This article has been updated to include a response from one of the defendants in the lawsuit.


BEIRUT — The Lebanese government has been officially notified of a US civil suit against politicians Gibran Bassil and former Minister of Justice and Minister of Labor Salim Jreissati, in which two US-based plaintiffs allege they conspired to kidnap and torture them.Here’s what we know:    • According to Daraj, on May 17 the US Embassy delivered a copy of the complaint, which...