A top Lebanese jurist has issued an appeal for the release of Lebanese Forces commander Samir Geagea, saying his “10-year agony in solitary confinement is enough.” The plea was made by Dr. Edmond Naim, who spearheaded Geagea’s defense during trials in the 1990s on charges of scheming to overthrow the regime, partition Lebanon into sectarian mini-states and assassinating political rivals, An Nahar reported on Wednesday.
Naim addressed the plea through the Markazia news agency to Druze leader Walid Jumblat, whose Progressive Socialist Party fielded the mightiest militia on the Muslim camp during Lebanon’s 1975-1990 civil war.
Geagea headed the LF, the Christians’ main militia, in the latter stages of the war and was the only warlord afterwards to go to prison, while almost all others joined post-war governments as cabinet ministers.
Christian leaders as well as Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir, head of the Maronite church, have adamantly contended that the total of 120-year jail term passed by several courts against Geagea was politically motivated because he had refused to serve in post-war pro-Syrian governments.
Naim singled out Jumblat for the plea because the Druze chieftain had declared in a recent dialogue with students of Notre Dame University (NDU) that he would not object to Geagea’s release if the Chamoun and the Karami clans announce a pardon for Geagea.
Geagea had been convicted by supreme courts in Beirut of engineering the assassination of ex-Premier Rashid Karami in 1986 and National Liberal Party leader Danny Chamoun in 1990.
“I plead with you Walid Bey to try to persuade all concerned that the agony of 10 years in solitary confinement, which Geagea has already served, is enough,” Naim said.