Lebanese court sentences 106 to death over clashes with army

#InsideLebanon

Almost one-third of those convicted over clashes in border town of Arsal remain at large

Funeral of Lieutenant Colonel Dani Harb, killed in clashes in Arsal in August 2014 (AFP)
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Thursday 19 May 2016 8:09 UTC
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A Lebanon military judge on Wednesday sentenced 106 men to death over clashes between the army and militants two years ago in the east of the country, a judicial source said.

Judge Najat Abou Chakra convicted 73 Syrians, 32 Lebanese and one Palestinian of belonging to "terrorist organisations," attacking the town of Arsal near the Syrian border and kidnapping and attempting to kill Lebanese soldiers and policemen, the source said.

Seventy-seven of those convicted are in custody, but 29 remain at large, including Abu Malek al-Talli, a leader in the Qalamoun border region of Syria's al-Qaeda affiliate Nusra Front.

In August 2014, the Lebanese army clashed with the Islamic State (IS) militant group and Nusra in Arsal.

IS and Nusra kidnapped 30 soldiers and policemen as they withdrew.

After lengthy negotiations, 16 of the captured men were released in early December in exchange for Islamist prisoners jailed in Lebanon.

Since the start of the five-year conflict in Syria, Lebanon has become home to more than one million Syrian refugees.

It has also been the scene of deadly bombings, including attacks targeting the Shia group Hezbollah, a key ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government.