As crisis deepens, PSP holds Bassil fully responsible for Aley incident

Abu Faour accused Bassil of stirring sectarian tensions during a number of his visits across Lebanese villages and towns, describing his talks as "divisive."
by Georgi Azar

6 August 2019 | 14:12

Source: by Annahar

  • by Georgi Azar
  • Source: Annahar
  • Last update: 6 August 2019 | 14:12

Industry Minister Wael Abu Faour pictured next to the damaged vehicle of State Minister for Refugee Affairs Saleh al-Gharib (Annahar)

BEIRUT: In the wake of President Michel Aoun labeling the Qabrshamon incident as an ambush on Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, Progressive Socialist Party member and Industry Minister Wael Abu Faour held the latter fully responsible for the deadly shooting on June 30. 

Speaking during a televised news conference Monday, the PSP laid out its own version of events, putting the blame on Bassil for "the Basatin incident, morally, politically and legally, from A to Z."

Abu Faour accused Bassil of stirring sectarian tensions during a number of his visits across Lebanese villages and towns, describing his talks as "divisive." 

Bassil was scheduled for a tour of Aley on the day of the shooting, to be capped off with a speech in the village of Kfar Matta. As tensions spilled onto the streets, which resulted in the death of two of Lebanese Democratic Party member and State Minister for Refugee Affairs Saleh al-Gharib's bodyguards, Bassil was forced to cancel the rest of his tour. 

The Free Patriotic Movement and LDP have had their fair share of disagreements with the PSP, the LDP's main Druze rivals. 

"The visit of any other minster or MP would not have resulted in such violence," Abu Faour said. 

Abu Faour then addressed President Michel Aoun, the FPM's founder and Bassil's father in law, questioning his role in the matter. 

"Do you recognize the magnitude of the risks facing Lebanon and its civil and political stability in the wake of your political heir's destructive and fanatical discourse?"

As a result of the political crisis, Lebanon's government hasn't convened in more than a month as Prime Minister Saad Hariri attempts to settle the dispute away from the Cabinet's roundtable. 

The PSP and its allies fear to lose a vote on whether to refer the case to the Judicial Council, the highest court in Lebanon tasked with dealing with sensitive cases. 

Abu Faour also dismissed the President's claims, saying that the Assistant Government Commissioner to the Military Tribunal, Judge Claude Ghanem has already dismissed "the ambush and assassination attempt theory, despite all the pressures that he's been subjected to."

He also accused FPM member and Defense Minister Elias Bou Saab of attempting to coerce the Military Tribunal to issue charges of terrorism. The Military Tribunal has thus far issued arrest warrants for four suspects after questioning 21 individuals. 

During the conference, a PSP lawyer reiterated claims of political meddling in the case and accused rivals of applying political pressure to disrupt a neutral investigation. 

"A great fraud is taking place within Lebanon's judiciary under political cover," Nachat Hassanieh said. 

He also accused the LDP and its allies of fabricating evidence, indicating that camera footage shows that "one of the vehicle's car glass was deliberately broken."

"This, as we all know, is against the law," he said. 

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