Thursday, April 26, 2007

Breaking News: Bodies of Kidnapped Youths Found!

Lebanese news services are reporting the recovery of the lifeless bodies of Ziad Ghandour (12) and Ziad Qabalan (25) in the pre-dominantly Druze village of Jadra in the Chouf district of Lebanon's Mount Lebanon province.

The Dailystar has revealed that security services have a man in custody currenlty being interrogated in relation to the two youths' deaths. The paper also revealed that a brother of Adnan Shamas (killed in the January 25 sectarian clashes on the Beirut Arab University campus) is "being pursued and is believed to be hiding somewhere in [the] Bourj al-Barajneh [suburb of Beirut]".

The Associated Press quoted a security services official as saying that "Qabalan and Ghandour had been shot to death and that the bodies bore signs of beating."

The Ministry of Education has announced the suspension of classes at schools and universities across the country in view of today's gruesome discoveries.

Lebanese news sources are also declaring a widespread deployment of Lebanese Army units in Beirut and districs throughout the Chouf amid anger at the killing of the youths. The streets of the capital remain calm for the moment while Lebanese political leaders have condemned the killings.

The Lebanese Forces website is reporting that the bodies of the deceased were found with bullet wounds to the head, and that the execution style murders were carried out only hours after the two were kidnapped on Tuesday.

The website is also reporting that Druze leader Walid Jumblatt has appeard on Lebanese television station, Future TV, calling for calm in the wake of the recovery of the bodies of the two youths affiliated with his party.

According to the LBCI news website, the bodies were recovered behind a gas station 200 meters from the coastal highway linking Beirut to the city of Saida. Security services retrieved the bodies after having received a telephone call believed to have been made by the kidnappers, indicating the location of the bodies.

According to the Naharnet news website, the two youths are believed to have been affiliated with the Progressive Socialist Party, a party whose leader, Walid Jumblatt, has become a leading member of the March 14th anti-Syrian parliamentary block.

Police had earlier reported that the "mini van [in which the youths had been believed to be in] -- a white Renault Rapid -- was found deserted in Beirut's Shiyah neighborhood on Tuesday ... The two were likely to have been abducted in neighboring Ein el-Rummaneh", a Beirut district.

The youth's disappearance has sparked high tensions across the country as rumours spread that the incident was related to the death of a pro-Hizballah member of the Shamas family clan last January.

Naharnet reported, "An Nahar, citing well-informed sources, said interrogation with a number of witnesses has determined that the license plate number of one of the two cars used by the kidnappers corresponds to the Shamas family.

The Shamas clan, however, said in a statement distributed on Wednesday that it was not associated with the abduction of the two youths. "

Fellow blogger Abu Kais provides futher background on the incident:

[On January 25th], Adnan was reportedly shot, stabbed, tortured and killed in the PSP and Amal dominated area of Wata al-Musseitbeh in Beirut. The story goes that after he was killed, the killers formed a circle around the body, performed some kind of dancing ritual, dragged the body around, tried to dismember it and then dumped it on a sidewalk.

Less than two days after the murder, Hizbullah's al-Manar announced that it had the names of those who killed Shamas, alleging they were members of Jumblatt's PSP and Hariri's Future Movement. At the victim's funeral in Ouzai, Hizbullah MP Hassan Fadlallah accused the government of the killing. On February 11th, another Hizbullah MP, Hussein Hajj Hassan, accused the interior and justice ministers of "executing Adnan Shamas in cold blood".

On March 3rd, Adnan's brothers filed a lawsuit against 15 individuals they believed are connected with the crime. The government's commissioner before the military court, Jean Fahd, referred the case to an investigative judge to "take the necessary judicial measures."

Three days later, the same judges announced the arrest of Syrian national Ragheb Ibrahim who "confessed to his crime" and claimed that he had shot Shamas after the latter aimed his gun at him. Ibrahim even reenacted the murder before television cameras. The Shamas family wasn't convinced, and issued a statement accusing "some politicians" of interfering in the investigation by obfuscating facts and "justifying the murder of the martyr and exonerating the killers".

On March 14th, we learned from the Lebanese media that Judge Fahd charged ten Lebanese in the same crime, and referred them to the investigative judge. Meanwhile, the Syrian national's lawyer, who was appointed by the Lawyers' syndicate, took himself off the case for unknown reasons.


  1. Terrible news.

    In what friggin party in what frigging coutry is a 12-year old a member of a political party???

  2. You're right Josey. No matter he's father's or his family's affiliatino, he was just a child.

  3. Further proof that a civil war has started; there is no such a thing as "just a child".

    This 12 year-old was killed, the next one will know he will have to fight... And he may move to "pre-empt".

  4. So far everything (leading suspects in the case) seems to indicate that this was an act of "revenge".

    The impetus is now on the political groups concentrated in Bourj Al Barajneh (Hizballah, Amal, Pro-Syrian Palestinian groups) to keep it just that, fully cooperate with the security services searching for the fugitive Shamas brother, and not provide him wiht any political cover.

    If they do, they will have transformed this unfortunate incident into a major political one.

  5. Anonymous2:18 AM

    revenge from who ya baba??? a 12 yrs old!!!! ma they already found the syrian sniper and he confessed he killed Adnan Shamas in the Jan attack on Beirut by hezbollah partisans.
    Manar TV is to blame because they kept accusing a number of persons from wata el mouseitbeh for many days without solid proofs while a Judge was in charge of the investigation...

  6. poor kids.. thats aweful..

    truly aweful

  7. The current events in Lebanon disturb me terribly, how low can our nation stoop? Is there any hope for better times?

  8. Charges laid against 18, 4 in custody.


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