BEIRUT — Protesters staged a sit-in on Monday in front of the Military Court in Beirut to demand justice for Alaa Abou Fakher, who was shot and killed by an army officer during Lebanon’s Oct. 17 popular uprising in 2019, which was caught on video, as well as for “all the other martyrs who fell in defense of public freedoms,” the state-run National News Agency reported.
Here’s what we know:
• The protest was organized by the Choueifat-Khaldeh Interior Agency of the Progressive Socialist Party and the Progressive Youth Organization. MP Bilal Abdallah of the PSP’s parliamentary bloc, the “Democratic Gathering,” pointed out that, “Whoever withdrew the law on the independence of the judiciary from the Parliament’s session of the general assembly bears the responsibility for not enacting this independence.”
• Lawyer Nashaat Husseini, who was present at the demonstration said, "The case in the military court is proceeding without any freedom for those entitled to pursue it, and we are afraid that this file will be lost like other files. The exceptional courts must be abolished and ordinary courts must be referred to.”
• Abou Fakher, a 38-year-old father of three, had been shot dead by an army officer during one of the demonstrations in Choueifat, a town south of Beirut. He has been hailed as a “martyr of the revolution” and a roadside memorial on the road where he died in Choueifat remains until today.
• Claiming the indictment decision issued on April 1 stated “unintentional murder” in the case of Abou Fakher’s death, the family’s attorney Wissam Eid said, “How could the Public Prosecution — which prosecuted on the basis of intentional killing and looked mainly in support of the articles of the indictment of the intentional killing — ratify and consider the indictment as unintentional murder."
• Choueifat-Khaldeh Interior Agency Undersecretary Marwan Abi Faraj said that the judge is proceeding to issue today a three-year prison sentence for the accused in “a case in which the killing was deliberate and direct in front of people's eyes, documented by video and photos.” He added that the verdict “is an unfair decision against Alaa and the rights of every Lebanese citizen.”
• Six people, including Abou Fakher, have reportedly died during Lebanon’s Oct. 17, 2019 uprising which saw hundreds of thousands of protesters rally around the country and chant against the political establishment, including the PSP.
• According to Legal Agenda, the Lebanese Security Forces had arrested at least 967 people, an average of 6.4 arrests per day, for partaking in the protests in the period between October 17, 2019 and March 15, 2020. The highest number of arrests, 35 of which were on charges on terrorism, was in Tripoli.