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Samir Geagea Meets LF France
Recently Samir Geagea met with Lebanese Forces memebers in France. Click here to download a video from the meeting.
[WMV 10.2MB From]

Geagea Whisked from Airport Straight to Rented Apartment in Paris
"For security reasons and under an agreement with French authorities, he was taken directly from the runway to his home," Georges Abiraad, a member of the Geageas' welcoming committee, said.

About 100 supporters had been waiting for the Geagea couple at Charles de Gaulle, brandishing Lebanese flags and portraits of the LF commander after his release from 11 years, three months and five days in prison to Lebanon's defense ministry in Yarze.

"As soon as we heard that he would be coming to France we called each other and that's why we're here," said Elie Baraghid, who presented himself as a representative of Geagea's Lebanese Forces movement in France.

The French foreign ministry said shortly before his arrival that Geagea's stay in France was private. "This is a private visit," said the ministry's deputy spokeswoman Cecile Pozzo di Borgo.

There was no word yet as to which Parisian hospital Geagea would check in, or when. His medical tests and recuperation may last up to six weeks before he flies back to a hero's welcome in Beirut.(AFP-Naharnet)

Posted by 40-Tactical on Wednesday, July 27, 2005 | Permalink

Samir, Sitrida Geagea Airborne for Month-Long Recuperation Abroad
Samir Geagea left jail a free man Tuesday, July 26, 2005, after spending 11 years, three months and five days in jail at the defense ministry compound in Yarze, an all-time record for a prisoner of conscience in Lebanon's chronicled history. His freedom lowers the final curtain on the lingering fallout of the Lebanese civil war.

Lebanon's unrivaled celebrity prisoner made his first public appearance to the VIP lounge at Beirut's Rafik Hariri International Airport at 11 a.m. local time to make his first televised address to the nation, pledging to spare no effort to navigate Lebanon out of its state of weightlessness.

"I have spent 11 horrific years in solitary confinement in a 6-square-meter dungeon three floors underground without sunlight or fresh air. But I endured my hardships because I was merely living my convictions," Geagea said from a makeshift podium at the VIP lounge, flanked by his wife Sitrida and a carefully selected assortment of politicians and dignitaries.

Geagea, wearing a gray jacket over a blue shirt without a necktie, looked awfully haggard as he read his written speech, confirming his alliance with Walid Jumblat, Saad Hariri, and Qornet Shahwan.

He drew loud applause as he spoke of "the plight and endurance of my darling, my wife Sitrida." She was all smiles when he uttered his words in a strong voice, carrying no trace of his 11-year ordeal behind bars.

"My Lebanese countrymen! The black days are now behind you and we should all look shoulder-to-shoulder for the shiny days aheadů to build the new Lebanon in Muslim-Christian national unity," he said. "We have fought a civil war that may have had its logic at the time. But this logic does not fit nowadays."

When he finished the 30-minute address, Geagea took off his jacket and shook hands with all well-wishers that were present at the VIP lounge for his sendoff. Mrs. Geagea was at his side.

Geagea, 53, was driven in an armor-plated limousine from the Yarze prison to the airport, escorted by Lebanese army commandos. As the emotion-charged sendoff was over, Sitrida and Samir Geagea spent more than one hour of handshakes with well-wishers before boarding a plane for a month-long medical checkups and recuperation abroad. He will then return to take up his role among Lebanon's policymakers.

The Lebanese Forces, the most energetic political group along with Gen. Aoun's Free Patriotic Movement in Lebanon's Christian heartland, which was outlawed when Geagea was arrested in 1994 on charges of scheming to partition the country into sectarian mini states, won a de facto legality by grabbing six seats in the May-June elections for the nation's first free-from-Syria parliament.

Posted by 40-Tactical on Tuesday, July 26, 2005 | Permalink

Samir Geagea's Speech Highlights
lan astatil fil kalami 3ala al madi
lakad 3ishtoujmouhou la7zatan bi la7za
bi 3arakiko mm wa doumou3oiukokm bi khawfikom 3la awladikom ....
ma atammanhou 3alaykom bil tawwaqafi 3ala haza al madi
lakad sabouta ana lil batili yawm wa lil 7aqqi alfa yawm
... iza al sha3bou yawman arada al 7ayat fa la boudda an yastajiba al kadar.... wa la kad istajaba al kadar
lakenna al qadara youwaffirou fourasan wa la yada3ou louqmatan fil fam fal nakon mousta3iddoeen an la noudayyi3 foursatan...
wa la oukhfi 3alaykom anna baytana al loubnani al dakhili fi 7alet ikhtilal wa 3adam al tawazon natijiat 15 sana min al qahr, lakinna sanabzoulou jouhdan ma3 7oulafa2ouna 3ala i3adat al ti2hil...
inna al ta3adiyyat ma zalat tanhalou 3ala loubnan, ightiyalat wa tasfiyat w ta3kirat amniya...
inna 3aqariba al sa3ata lan ta3ouda yawman ila al wara2...
ayyouha al loubnaniyoun, qadaytou 11 3aman fi zinzanatin dayyiqa ta7ta al ard ma3zoulan 3an al 3alam al khariji...
laken lam akon la7zatan li wa7di li2annakom jami3an kontom da2iman ma3i.
kanat zouroufou i3tiqali qassiya, 7aqqan qassiya, wa bil roghmi zalek, kana yassoudouni da2iman itmi2nan gharib... wa konto a3eesho kana3ati wa law 3ala masa7ati 6m2 faqat
kana haza bil nisbati ilayy afdalou min a3eesha qana3at ghayri 3ala masa7ati al kawni
tilata a7da 3ashra 3aman wa nayyif , lam ash3or yawman annani masjoun
laboudda hona an o7ayyi al rifaq fil qouwwat, wa aqoulou lahom ana fakhouroun jiddan jiddan bihim, ana fakhouron bi wa3yihim, bi imanihim, bi soumoudihim , wa bi tad7iyatihim,
inna ma mourissa fi 7aqqihim, min moula7aqat wa i3tiqalat wa sajn wa ta3zib wa qatlin fi ba3d al a7yan inno akbar zalamtin..
hazi al moumarasat kanet taqoum bi aydi libnaniya wa law bi qararat kharijiya

Thank you Gilo

Posted by 40-Tactical on Tuesday, July 26, 2005 | Permalink

Geagea Leaves Jail, Setting a Record of 11 Years, 3 Months, 5 Days as Prisoner of Conscience
Samir Geagea left jail a free man Tuesday, July 26, 2005, after spending 11 years, three months and five days in jail at the defense ministry compound in Yarze, an all-time record for a prisoner of conscience in Lebanon's chronicled history. His freedom lowers the final curtain on the lingering fallout of the Lebanese civil war.

Lebanon's unrivaled prison celebrity was out of jail at 9 a.m. local time, international news agencies reported. He was escorted by army commandos to Beirut's Rafik Hariri International airport for carefully screened meetings with leading activists of his Lebanese Forces and then with a 350-strong selection of Lebanese politicians and dignitaries at the VIP lounge.

Geagea, 53, is to make a nationally televised brief appearance before the local and international media for an address to the nation before boarding a plane with his wife for a month-long medical checkups and recuperation abroad. He will then return to take up his role among Lebanon's policymakers.

The Lebanese Forces, the most energetic political group along with Gen. Aoun's Free Patriotic Movement in Lebanon's Christian heartland, which was outlawed when Geagea was arrested in 1994 on charges of scheming to partition the country into sectarian mini states, won a de facto legality by winning six seats in the May-June elections for the nation's first free-from-Syria parliament.

The LF sent out invitations to the leaders of the March 14 uprising that forced Syria to evacuate Lebanon in the wake of Rafik Hariri's assassination to the VIP lounge sendoff. But Druze Leader Walid Jumblat and parliament's majority leader Saad Hariri, the chief architects of Geagea's parliamentary bill of parole, would not be present because of enormous security risks, Hariri's Future TV network reported.

Posted by 40-Tactical on Tuesday, July 26, 2005 | Permalink

Explosion in Monot
An explosion rocked an alleyway Friday night near Achrafiehs Monot Street where several restaurants, bars and nightclubs are heavily frequented on weekends. Police said the blast resulted from a small explosive charge planted underneath a car parked near a 3-storey house and said only 2 passersby suffered injuries from flying glass. Pictures available here.

Posted by 40-Tactical on Sunday, July 24, 2005 | Permalink

Girgis Khoury Prays at the Church He allegedly Blew Up'
girgis khoury'I am the scapegoat that spent 11 years and three months in a prison grave,' said Girgis Khoury upon his release from the Defense Ministry prison in Yarze Thursday. My 3-floor underground prison cell throughout my incarceration was a grave, not only a dungeon without sunshine or fresh air.' Khoury, 37, walked out of prison a free man at sundown Thursday at the orders of State Prosecutor Saeed Mirza. Girgis was held on charge of blowing up the Maronite church of Notre Dame de la Deliverance on March 14. 1994, in which 10 worshippers were killed.

The first thing he did was to go to the church at suburban Zouk Mekayel to pray. 'I told the Virgin Mary that Girgis Khoury is innocent. Girgis Khoury can not possibly blow up a church or even think of harming any church,' he said.

Khoury, an activist of Samir Geagea's Lebanese Forces, then was driven from Zouk Mekayel to his home in Dbayeh. His father and sister leaped to hug him and kiss him with a Geagea portrait hanging the background. Tumultuous LF well-wishers ringed the house.

"Is it true that your prison cell was a grave with lights," one reporter asked. "In fact it was worse because I was breathing in it. I would have been much better off dead," Khoury said.

Posted by 40-Tactical on Friday, July 22, 2005 | Permalink

Geagea Leaves Prison Tuesday, Addresses Nation from Airport
Samir Geagea is effectively a free man Friday although he has opted to leave jail on Tuesday, when arrangements for his personal security during a trip from Yarze to Beirut airport are completed, according to an official announcement of his Lebanese Forces. There is still no word whether Geagea would go to Rafik Hariri airport by an army helicopter or in a motorcade of armor-plated limousines. But it has been finally decided that an airport reception will be arranged for the leader before he takes off with his wife to a still undetermined European capital for a month of medical tests and recuperation.

Media reports said a total of 350 political and religious figures as well as his parents and close relatives have been invited to see him off after an appearance at a news conference during which he will make a brief address to the nation. He will return around August's end to take the personal leadership of the LF.

Mrs. Geagea visited the LF commander at the defense ministry prison in Yarze Thursday and told him that a special edition of the official gazette has already been published, which made him promptly a free man after 11 years and three months in Jail. The last day of the third month was on Thursday, she told reporters after the visit.

Some 15 detainees held since an anti-government revolt by Islamists in Lebanon's northern mountains of Dinniyeh during the first week of 2000 were taken Thursday from the central prison in Romieh to spend the night in the northern port city of Tripoli as a prelude for setting them free on Friday. They were covered by an amnesty that parliament endorsed simultaneously with Geagea's parole.

A dozen other detainees in connection with anti-government riots in the Bekaa Valley town of Majdal Anjar are also being released from the Romieh jail Friday.

Posted by 40-Tactical on Friday, July 22, 2005 | Permalink

Court Verdict Overthrows Katayeb's Pakradouni in Favor of Amin Gemayel
A court verdict has dethroned Karim Pakradouni from the leadership of the Phalange Party and set the stage for ex-President Amin Gemayel to take the helm of the onetime biggest Christian political organization that was founded by his father, the late Pierre Gemayel, after a visit to Nazi Germany in 1936. The verdict, which was handed down by a 3-judge tribunal on Thursday, appointed lawyer Hafez Zakhour as provincial custodian of the Katayeb to arrange for new elections to install a new leadership. But a power struggle is already plaguing the party.

Pakradouni declared he would appeal the new ruling before a higher court and would not evacuate the Party's headquarters in Beirut's Saifi neighborhood, pending the court of appeals verdict, which media reports say might take a long time.

"Thursday's verdict is not final. I have instructed the Party's attorneys to appeal the ruling within the legal timeframe," the pro-Syrian Pakradouni said in a statement. "I shall stay on in Saifi and I hope that the court of appeals will reverse Thursday's verdict."

"This verdict has set the Katayeb back on track," the Anti-Syria ex-President Gemayel said, denying that he would seek the party's leadership. But media analysts say Gemayel would unquestionably seek to restore the leadership to the Gemayel clan if and when the court of appeals upholds Thursday's verdict.

The Phalange lost much of its clout within the Christian community after its founder's death at the height of Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war. The late Pierre Gemayel's younger son, Bashir Genayel, had founded the Lebanese Forces as the main militia of the Christian camp during the sectarian conflict, calling it the military arm of the Phalange Party.

But the LF eventually broke ranks with the Phalange and turned into a full-fledged political party on its own under Samir Geagea after the civil war guns fell silent in 1990. Pakradouni, who once was Bashir Gemayel's second-in-command, eventually managed to take the Phalange leadership in the late 1990s only to aggravate the Katayeb's isolation within its own Christian community by forging a controversial alliance with Syria.

Ex-President Gemayel, who left for self-chosen exile in Paris after his 6-year term in office expired in 1988, returned in 1991. When Pakradouni took the party's leadership, the former president founded the breakaway Katayeb Corrective Movement.

The Gemayel-Pakradouni power struggle is expected to escalate into a high-noon showdown within the next weeks with parliament's majority alliance of Saad Hariri, Walid Jumblat, the LF and Qornet Shahwan throwing its weight behind Gemayel against Pakradouni, the local media says.

Posted by 40-Tactical on Friday, July 22, 2005 | Permalink

Tehran Sues Geagea for 1982 Abduction of 4 Iranian Diplomats
Iran plans to file a lawsuit against Samir Geagea over the kidnapping of four Iranian diplomats who were fleeing Beirut during Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon, Iran's state-run television reported Thursday.

Iran had been watching the developments in Lebanon since President Emile Lahoud signed an amnesty on Tuesday pardoning Geagea. Tehran claims the former warlord and his Christian Lebanese Forces militia kidnapped the diplomats and delivered them to Israel.

But one drastic flaw in Tehran's case is the fact that Geagea was neither the commander nor the chief of security of the LF during the disappearance of the 4 Iranian diplomats at the Madfoun highway bridge in northern Lebanon.

The LF at the time was 100 percent controlled by its founder Bashir Gemayel who was eventually elected president of Lebanon in 1982 only to be assassinated a week before his swearing in ceremony.

"Filing a lawsuit against perpetrators of kidnapping of four Iranian diplomats is on the agenda," said Hamid Reza Asefi, a spokesman for Iran's foreign minister.

"We are reviewing claims against Samir Geagea in this regard," Asefi was quoted as saying.

The four diplomats, Mohsen Mousavi, Ahmad Motevaselian, Taqi Rastegarmoghaddam and Kazem Akhavan, were last seen being held by LF militiamen at the Madfoun checkpoint.

Present day leader of the Phalange party Karim Pakradouni, who was then Gemayel's LF second-in-command had repeatedly claimed the 4 diplomats were killed by a shell that hit their prison room of the LF War Council seaside headquarters at Beirut seaport during a civil war artillery duel.

The Lebanese media had a different version saying all four Iranians were gunned down instantly on the spot despite orders by then LF Security Chief Elie Hobeika to bring them over to the War Council.(Naharnet-AP)

Posted by 40-Tactical on Thursday, July 21, 2005 | Permalink

Geagea Out Saturday
Samir Geagea's parole bill is published by the official gazette on Thursday, opening the way for his prompt release from the prison of the defense ministry in Yarze any moment. But one Beirut newspaper close to President Lahoud said the leader of the Lebanese forces would leave jail on Saturday.

Al Bayrak daily said legal and judicial formalities after the bill's official publication would take some 48 hours, making it most probable that he would walk out a free man from Yarze Saturday morning. So will the detainees of the Dinniyeh and Majdal Anjar anti-government hostilities.

Mrs. Geagea is working out the arrangements for her husband's trip from Yarze straight to Beirut airport upon his release to catch a flight either to London or Paris, where he will undergo extensive medical tests and some body-building processes before returning to Lebanon.

Mrs. Sitrida Geagea and senior LF lieutenants are probing options for the Yarze-airport trip by a motorcade of armor-plated limousines or by an army helicopter after a brief reunion with his parents at the ministry compound, media reports said.

The London-based Al Hayat newspaper ran on Thursday an interview it conducted with Geagea in the Yarze jail shortly before Parliament unanimously voted on his parole Monday, saying he spoke to the interviewer from behind a bullet-proof glass curtain set up by prison officials.

It was his first press interview he was allowed to give during his 11 years and nearly three months in jail. "I haven't read a newspaper since my arrest on April 21, 1994 and wasn't allowed to listen to radios or watch television until very recently," Geagea said.

He said all political forces on the Lebanese spectrum should join hands to build future Lebanon by reform programs and democratic means of dialogue. "Return to the violence of the past has been rendered impossible."

Geagea said he felt 'great pain' when he knew of ex-Premier Rafik Hariri's assassination. "I was on good terms with him. His absence with the weight he carried on the pan-Arab and international level is a loss for Lebanon," Geagea said, according to Al Hayat.

He paid tribute to the promise Saad Hariri holds and said Lebanon is in dire need nowadays to the "policy of stretched out hand rather that boycott and isolation."

Geagea also expressed satisfaction over the strong showing of the Lebanese Forces in the May-June elections, speaking affectionately of his wife and the endurance she had to put up with during his imprisonment.

"Lebanon's priorities at present should focus on safeguarding stability and making dialogue the only language among the Lebanese to cope with their political and economic woes," Geagea said, Al Hayat reported.

Posted by 40-Tactical on Thursday, July 21, 2005 | Permalink

Sitrida Prepares Passports, Visas, for Samir's Impending Trip Abroad
Sitrida Geagea has said her husband was deeply moved when he saw his mother and father reacting in tears to parliament's parole bill that will set him free in a matter of hours from 11 years and 2 months in jail, An Nahar reported Wednesday. "He saw them on the television screen that was recently installed at his prison room," said Mrs. Geagea after she visited Lebanese Forces commander Samir Geagea at his prison in the defense ministry compound in Yarze Tuesday.

It was the first time that the nation's most publicized couple met face-to-face since Parliament passed the parole bill on Monday. An Nahar said Mrs. Geagea is preoccupied with arrangements to travel with her husband to a European capital for three weeks or a month so that he would undergo an intensive medical checkup.

"She is preparing the passports and the travel visas abroad, keeping the destination secret," An Nahar said. Earlier reports said they would head straight from Yarze to the airport to fly out to either London or Paris.

The LBCI said Mrs. Geagea and her sister took a set of new suits to Samir Geagea in jail. He wore them to test the measures and Mrs. Geagea used pins provided by a sympathetic prison warden to have the new trousseau adjusted. She insisted, however, that he has not lost weight drastically.

An Nahar published Wednesday Geagea's last handwritten letter to his wife, telling her "this is the last time I write to you from prisonů.Since we are going to meet permanently for good soon, there will be no need for letters. We have suffered a lot but the moment of freedom makes up for everything."

Posted by 40-Tactical on Wednesday, July 20, 2005 | Permalink

Lahoud Signs Geagea's Freedom Bill
President Lahoud on Tuesday signed the parole bills for the release of Lebanese Forces commander Samir Geagea plus the detainees of the Dinnieh and Majdal Anjar events and sent both laws for publication in the Official Gazette, it was officially announced. The two bills were endorsed by parliament Monday and were signed by caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati in the evening. The speed with which the process is being ratified suggests Geagea would be set free from eleven years and two months in jail by Friday at most.

LF spokesmen have said Geagea will be taken upon his release from the Defense Ministry prison in Yarze straight to Beirut's Rafik Hariri Airport for medical tests in a European capital, most probably London or Paris. They said the couple would stay away for around a month before the 53 year old Geagea returns to take his place among policymakers.

Some right-wing Christian politicians suggest he would be the next president of Lebanon 'if he plays it right.'

Posted by 40-Tactical on Tuesday, July 19, 2005 | Permalink

Geagea's Parole Triggers Suburban Beirut Violence, 1 Killed, 16 Hospitalized
Festive celebrations by Lebanese Forces activists over Samir Geagea's impending freedom have been marred by fist fights, stone-throwing and gun battles with rival Shiite Muslim groups in Beirut that left one person killed and 16 others hospitalized, the local media reported on Tuesday. The clashes flared with clubs, empty bottles, stones and finally firearms in the predominantly Christian neighborhood of Ein Rummaneh and mostly Shiite Chiyah residential district, media reports said, recalling that the 1975-1990 civil war broke out precisely from those two locations.

Each side blamed the other for the violence. Shiites believed to be from Speaker Berri's Amal movement claimed LF activists shouted provocative slogans during the Ein Rummaneh celebrations that "we simply could not endure." An LF activist was quoted by the media as saying "they came on purpose to sabotage our festivities over the Hakim's parole."

At least two privately owned cars were wrecked and glass fronts of many shops smashed during the one-hour hostilities. Army commandos and riot police finally intervened to disengage the belligerents and stand in a shoulder-to-shoulder buffer between Ein Rummaneh and Chiyah Tuesday night. Army patrols were still in motion Tuesday morning

Posted by 40-Tactical on Tuesday, July 19, 2005 | Permalink

2 More legal steps to free Samir Geagea
1- Signature of the President (Emile Lahoud)
2- Publishing the law in the official paper.

N.B: If Lahoud refuses to sign (he has 15 days to do so), the bill will be send back top the parliament. Parliament has to re-vote on it and will need the majority to pass. If it passes, it will not need the signature of the President anymore.

- Cedars

Posted by 40-Tactical on Monday, July 18, 2005 | Permalink

Freedom Bill Passed, Geagea Leaves Jail Straight to Europe this Weekend
Church bells rang across Lebanon's Christian heartland Monday as parliament overwhelmingly passed a parole bill that put Lebanese Forces commander Samir Geagea on the homestretch of his race to freedom, hopefully by the end of the week.

Long convoys of cars with honking horns joyously toured the streets of Besharri, Geagea's hometown in north Lebanon's cedar mountains and around his house in suburban Zouk Mosbeh north of Beirut just as TV networks interrupted the regular programs to flash out the passage of the freedom bill.

Giant Geagea portraits adorned by roses, national and LF banners, were hoisted over each of the cars in the wildly cheering caravans amid calls blared by loudspeakers to refrain from provocation or law-breaking acts.

"This is a dream that came true. We waited for it for 11 years, 2 months and some days," Mrs. Geagea told reporters after leaving parliament in all-white dress, which she described as a wedding gown. "History has been made and Lebanon's civil war is finally over."

The vote was unanimous for Geagea. Hizbullah's 13 legislators walked out of the hall when the vote was called to avoid casting 'no' ballots or abstain. An earlier vote for the release of the Dinniyeh and Majdal Anjar detainees was near unanimous, with only one legislator voting against.

Gen. Aoun and Walid Jumblat failed to attend the session. But Saad Hariri, who treasures his Tayyar Al Mustaqbal alliance with the LF, jetted back from a private visit to his family in the Saudi capital of Riyadh in time to attend and vote.

The LBCI said once the legal process for enforcing the parole bill is completed, probably by the weekend, Geagea would be taken straight from the Yarze prison to Beirut's Rafik Hariri airport for a trip with his wife Sitrida to a European capital, most probably London.

Geagea, 53, has lost a lot of weight in prison. He would be admitted to a hospital to undergo extensive medical tests and be nourished back to normal before returning home to take up his role among Lebanon's policymakers.

Posted by 40-Tactical on Monday, July 18, 2005 | Permalink

Geagea's Parole Includes Girgis Khoury, Runaway LF Activists
Geagea's parole bill and the de facto recognition of the LF as a full-fledged political party that contested the May-June elections, winning six seats, have effectively revoked a 1994 government resolution that outlawed the Lebanese Forces, calling it a civil war militia bent on partitioning Lebanon into sectarian mini-states. "The LF is a nationally acclaimed political force and Samir Geagea's release turns the last page of the civil war forever," George Adwan contends, saying Girgis Khoury, who has been imprisoned since Geagea's 1994 arrest, will also be freed.

"The parole bill cancels the crime for which Samir Geagea and Girgis Khoury were imprisoned. So Khoury is 100 percent certain to be freed, too, and all LF runaways who fled Lebanon to avoid arrest will be entitled to return home unmolested," Adwan noted.

Mrs. Geagea and Adwan have reasserted the LF alliance with Saad Hariri, Walid Jumblat and Qornet Shahwan as an integral part of the March 14 uprising that drove Syria out of Lebanon in the wake of Rafik Hariri's assassination and the LF will be an equal partner in the decision-making process of the quadripartite pact.

Both Mrs. Geagea and Adwan held a hushed-up meeting with Saad Hariri on Saturday and then held a meeting with Jumblat in Moukhtara on Sunday, after which Jumblat convened his bloc in parliament and delegated lawmakers Marwan Hamadeh and Fouad Al Saad to see Speaker Berri to 'coordinate' the parole vote Monday, Hariri's Al Mustaqbal newspaper reported.

Legislator Ghazi Aridi said later that an agreement has been reached by the LF, Hariri's Tayyar Al Mustaqbal and Jumblat's bloc in parliament to separate Geagea's parole bill from that of the Dinniyeh and the Majdal Anjar detainees.

"The parole bill for those will be tabled for a vote in Monday's session before that of Geagea's so that the Muslims are assured that they won't be double-crossed by dropping Dinniyeh-Majdal Anjar parole if Geagea's bill is passed first," Aridi said.

Posted by 40-Tactical on Monday, July 18, 2005 | Permalink

Geagea Begins Homestretch Race to Freedom with 107 Parliament Votes
Samir Geagea begins the final stretch of his race to freedom on Monday with Parliament seen certain to vote him out of jail within a few hours with an overwhelming majority of more than 100 votes. The 128-member legislator, the product of the first free-from-Syria elections in 30 years, convenes in a plenary session before midday to elect its specialized committees. Once this is done, Speaker Berri is committed to gavel into order a separate legislative sitting to vote on Geagea's parole bill.

Barring an unforeseen last-minute hitch, Geagea's parole will be coupled with a bill for the release of dozens of predominantly Sunni Muslim detainees held in connection with a revolt in the Dinniyeh mountains in northern Lebanon in 2000 and with anti-government riots in the Bekaa Valley town of Majdal Anjar last year.

LF newly elected parliament member George Adwan said the March 14 anti-Syria alliance of Saad Hariri's Tayyar Al Mustaqbal, Walid Jumblat's Progressive Socialist Party, Qornet Shahwan coalition and the LF are unquestionably certain to cast 72 'yes' votes in parliament for the two parole bills.

Gen. Aoun's 21-strong parliamentary bloc has promised support and Berri has assured Mrs. Sitrida Geagea, also a newly elected legislator, that his 14-member bloc would also vote 'yes.' That accounts for 107 votes, leaving Hizbullah's 13 votes uncertain.

Adwan outlined the legal process after the parole bill is passed by parliament, saying the bill will be sent either Monday evening or Tuesday morning to President Lahoud to sign. Lahoud has pledged beforehand to sign the bill into a presidential decree at once and send it to the official gazette, which publishes on Friday.

"We will personally take the published parole law to the prison of the Defense Ministry and we hope he will be released the same day or the day next," Adwan said. Asked whether Geagea could be free by the weekend, Adwan said: "I am committed with our allies that the end of the month is the deadline. Every single day we gain earlier will be a sterling accomplishment," he added.

When the prison gates are thrown open for Geagea, he would have spent 11 years and more than four months in jail, most of which he languished in a three-floor underground dungeon with no sunlight or fresh air.

Mrs. Geagea, obviously certain of no last-minute hitch, called on the LF rank and file to refrain from "any uncivilized act'' in Monday's planned celebration of "Al Hakim's Freedom Bill."

Posted by 40-Tactical on Monday, July 18, 2005 | Permalink

Adwan Sketches Scenario of Geagea's Release This Week
Lebanese Forces parliament member George Adwan said Monday parliament was certain to vote on a parole for LF commander Samir Geagea at a legislative session of the newly elected legislature on Monday.'This is our agreement with Speaker Berri,' Adwan said in a live interview with LBCI Sunday. 'The Speaker will convene the legislative sitting after the new parliament finishes the election of its committees in a plenary session.'

Adwan said the parole bill would be sent immediately by parliament to prompt publication in the official Gazette. "Once it is published, we will take the legislation to prison in the defense ministry and escort Dr. Geagea out," said Adwan, estimating the process would be completed this week.

He said parliament will also vote on similar bill of parole for detainees held in connection with the Dinniyeh and Anjar unrest.

Posted by 40-Tactical on Monday, July 18, 2005 | Permalink

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