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Five years after journalist Samir Kassir's murder, impunity persists

(Maharat/IFEX) - On the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the assassination of journalist Samir Kassir, Maharat Foundation emphasizes the need to uncover the circumstances of this crime and bring the criminals to justice in order to preserve freedom of opinion and expression in Lebanon and the Arab world.

Five years have passed since the assassination of journalist and political writer Samir Kassir on 2 June 2005 by an explosive placed in his car. To date, nothing has been officially announced to reveal the responsible party behind this tragic incident. Kassir has been concerned about spreading democratic values and human rights in the entire Arab world rather than Lebanon alone. His bold and critical positions made the European Union launch the Samir Kassir Award for Press Freedom in 2006 to encourage journalists to adopt constructive criticism and write freely with independence and boldness.

The assassination of Kassir was not an individual and isolated incident, but came within organized attempts that aim at eliminating free voices in Lebanon and the Arab world which proclaim human rights and promote democratic values. Six months after the assassination of Kassir, the journalist Gebran Tueni, a Chairman of a newspaper, was assassinated, and in September of the same year the journalist May Chidiac survived an assassination attempt by an explosive placed under the seat of her car, which led to the amputation of her hand and foot.

Till today, the impunity of criminals from trial is a negative indicator for media freedom in Lebanon. Maharat Foundation urges the Lebanese authorities to be responsible and follow up on the assassinations of journalists and limit the impunity that has prevailed in Lebanon during the war and situations of insecurity and political unrest.

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