Hizbullah on Thursday condemned the assassination of rival activist and researcher Lokman Slim. Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri on Thursday described slain anti-Hizbullah activist and researcher Lokman Slim as “a new martyr on the path of Lebanon’s freedom and democracy.”
In a statement, the party deplored “the killing of political activist Lokman Slim,” urging the competent judicial and security agencies to “work quickly on unveiling and penalizing the perpetrators.”
Hizbullah also called on authorities to “combat the crimes that are moving from one area to another in Lebanon and the accompanying political and media exploitation that comes at the expense of domestic security and stability.”
Slim, a prominent and long-time publisher and vocal critic of Hizbullah was found shot dead in his car on Thursday morning, a brazen killing that sparked fears of a return to political violence in this country gripped by social and economic upheaval.
To his friends, Slim was a fearless critic of Lebanon’s powerful politicians, Hizbullah and its allies Iran and Syria. Critics, however, accused Slim of sowing sedition, undermining national unity and being a “Zionist” because of his criticisms of Hizbullah.
“He was carrying the weight of this country on his shoulder,” his sister Rasha al-Ameer told reporters at their home after the news of the killing broke. She said she has no faith in local investigations and that the family would carry out its own private forensic probe.
“Up until today in the history of Lebanon, all investigations have led to a dead end,” she told reporters. She had earlier in the day hinted that Hizbullah was behind the killing, without naming the group, adding that it is known who controls the area where her brother was found dead. “Killing for them is a habit,” she said. Hizbullah and its allies dominate the area in southern Lebanon.
“His assassination is inseparable from the course of the previous assassinations. Lokman Slim was perhaps clearer than everyone in pinpointing where the threat to the country is coming from,” Hariri tweeted in his turn.
“He did not compromise nor back down and he offered his blood and pure soul as a sacrifice for Lebanon’s salvation. May he rest in peace and we and all sovereignty advocates will continue the battle of freedom,” the PM-designate added.
He also stressed that “condemnation is no longer enough” and “it is required to unveil the criminals in order to stop the spiteful killing machine.”