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French investigation at standstill four years after journalist Samir Kassir's murder

(RSF/IFEX) - On the fourth anniversary of Franco-Lebanese newspaper columnist Samir Kassir's murder in Beirut, Reporters Without Borders has voiced its impatience with the slowness of the investigations into his death in a car bombing and reiterated its full support for his family and his widow, Giselle Khoury.

"The investigators have made little progress in the four years since Kassir's death," Reporters Without Borders said. "The complex political situation in Lebanon has had an effect on the investigation, but we strongly urge both the French and Lebanese authorities to shed light on this murder. Lebanese journalists will not be able to work safely until those responsible have been punished."

Khoury's lawyer, William Bourdon, told Reporters Without Borders: "The French investigation has ground to a halt. The investigating judge in charge of the case is about to leave this post and, for the time being, there is no sign of new developments."

The only hope of the case being solved now lies with the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, which was created in June 2007 after the country was shaken by a wave of bombings and murders whose victims include former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri.

"I am waiting for information that could confirm that, as a result of what it has learned, the Special Tribunal could extend its investigation to include the Kassir murder, given the links that have been established with the wave of murders over which it has authority," Bourdon added.

An historian and professor at St. Joseph University as well as writing columns for the daily "An-Nahar", Kassir was killed on 2 June 2005 outside his home in the Beirut district of Ashrafieh by a bomb that had been put in his car.

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