Lebanon’s ARF Catholicos Condemn Assassination of Lebanese MP

The assassination of respected journalist and recently elected member of Lebanon’s Parliament–Gibran Tueni on Monday–prompted sharp condemnation from Lebanon’s leadership–including His Holiness Aram Catholicos I–Member of Parliament Hagop Pakradouni–and the Central Committee of Lebanon’s Armenian Revolution Federation–who all viewed the attack as a broader threat against the future of the country.

"This act and other similar acts are directed–beyond the targeted individuals–against Lebanon and those values Lebanon has embodied and promoted," a statement by His Holiness Aram I said. He cited Lebanon’s integrity–sovereignty–freedom–and coexistence of the various communities as directly coming under threat.

On the afternoon of the attack–MP Pakradouni–along with Aztag Daily editor Shahe Kandaharian–visited the Editorial offices of An-Nahar newspaper to express their condolences to its editor.

In a statement to the press–Pakradouni said there are no words to express the loss of a friend who was an influential political and media force–and worked doggedly to preserve free expression. Considering the assault on Tueni as an attack on all of Lebanon and its system of governance–Pakradouni summarized the need to start–without delay–dialogue between all forces in Lebanon in order to establish a unified stance.

Tueni was well known for his tough–blunt editorials in An-Nahar–one of the Arab world’s leading daily newspapers where Tueni was general manager and publisher. His grandfather founded An-Nahar in 1933.

He was a longtime champion of Lebanese sovereignty and independence–and he had lately taken up the cause of establishing an international investigation into the mass graves discovered in the eastern Lebanese village of Anjar.

The 48-year-old Tueni was with his friend Andre Michel and his driver Nicolas al-Falouti. All three died in the blast.

After convening a special session–the ARF CC of Lebanon issued a statement strictly condemning Tueni’s assassination–and the killing of Michel and al-Falouti–calling it "an act of terrorism," that seeks to destabilize the country.

"In their futile attempt–the cowards who organized this act attempt to silence free speech–which is required to ensure Lebanon’s independence and governance."

The statement calls for increased cooperation and mutual support–citing the nation’s executive bodies–citizens–as well as government as possible targets.

It also deman’s that the government of Lebanon take on the responsibility of maintaining the country’s security and apprehending and punishing those responsible for the crime–as well as previous such crimes.

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