February 5, 2021
A British diplomat has called for an investigation after a critic of the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah was murdered on Thursday.
Martin Longden, the UK’s chargé d’affaires in Lebanon, made the call after Lukman Slim was found dead after being reported missing on Wednesday.
Slim, a historian in his 50s, was found dead in his car in southern Lebanon, having reportedly been shot multiple times in the back of the head.
He had been a prominent critic of Hezbollah, and had been threatened multiple times after accusing it of “monopolizing” Lebanese politics.
Slim had previously suggested to a Saudi TV network that he suspected Iran-backed Hezbollah of involvement in the explosion at the Port of Beirut in 2020.
The group denied his claim; his body was discovered exactly six months to the day of the disaster.
Hezbollah is the only political party in Lebanon to maintain a militia, and has been designated a terrorist organization by the UK and other Western governments.
“The authorities must conduct a swift and transparent investigation and find those responsible,” said Longden.
“I will follow this issue very closely. All voices in Lebanon, including (those) of critics, must be protected. No impunity.”
His call was echoed by fellow diplomats from the UN, as well as Amnesty International and the EU’s ambassador to Lebanon.
Hezbollah has been known to target its political opponents through assassinations. A Dutch tribunal found a member of the group guilty of involvement in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri in Beirut in 2005.