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US threatens Lebanon with sanctions over imprisonment of ex-Israel collaborator

Amer Fakhoury is also an American national [Getty]

Date of publication: 7 December, 2019

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The health condition of imprisoned Amer Fakhoury, known as the 'Butcher of Khiam', is deteriorating.
The US has warned Lebanon can face sanctions if an ex-Israeli collaborator who was known as the "Butcher of Khiam" dies in prison. 

US Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire warned on Wednesday that Amer Fakhoury, who is also an American national, should not die in Lebanese custody, amid reports that the 57-year-old's health is deteriorating. 

"I think his health is very critical and we do not want a situation where he dies in Lebanese custody," the Democratic senator said during a hearing on Lebanon and Iraq.

Shaheen said sanctions should include ones that would make any involved officials and their family members ineligible for entry into the United States.

"I think this is a very serious situation that has not been taken seriously by the officials of the Lebanese government, and they need to be on notice that we are looking very carefully and closely at what they're doing," Shaheen said.

Fakhoury was a member of the former Israeli-backed South Lebanon Army. He was also known as the "Butcher of Khiam" for his work at a former prison described by human rights groups as a centre for torture.

He worked in the prison from 1989 to 1996 and fled Lebanon in 2001 through Israel, eventually settling in the US, where he owned a restaurant in New Hampshire.

He was detained by authorities on September 12 after making his first trip back to Lebanon in nearly 20 years.

Fakhoury's family said doctors have told them his condition is life threatening. In addition to an infection and bleeding disorder, doctors believe he has developed an aggressive form of lymphoma.

"We need to get him out of Lebanon as soon as possible to be treated," his lawyer, Celine Atallah, told AP on Thursday. 

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