Geagea’s Release Meets Same Fate as Aoun’s Return January 18, 2001

Discours et Textes, Samir Geagea

First it was Michel Aoun, now it’s Samir Geagea. The recent parliamentary attempt to raise the issue of the release of Samir Geagea, head of the dismantled Lebanese Forces, from jail met the same fate as Aoun’s return. This, after Prime Minister Rafic Hariri’s initiative to Aoun, which promised the latter immunity from being tried upon his return, was aborted by accusations of Aoun having embezzled public funds.

These developments seem to show that the time is not yet ripe for either case, despite promises made during parliamentary elections to work towards Aoun’s return and Geagea’s release. Several elections candidates had, in fact, made the two issues part of their campaign and were met with a consenting public opinion. But the government, Syria and its allies do not seem in favor. The question that poses itself is whether the initiative of 10 members of parliament to amend the amnesty law will meet the same fate as House Speaker Nabih Berri’s Bkirki initiative or Hariri’s Aoun initiative.

The efforts of the MPs and Bkirki were slammed by Health Minister Suleiman Franjieh, who criticized that the issue was brought forth without his consent. Franjieh blames Geagea for the Ehden massacre of 1978, in which more than 30 people died, including his father, former MP Toni Franjieh, his wife and daughter, and tens of their supporters. Franjieh called on the families of the Ehden victims to stage demonstrations in Bkirki. Talks were later made between Franjieh and the Patriarch which canceled the manifestations and a crisis which could have occured between them.

The file was put on hold, in the meantime, until the time becomes right.

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