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EHDEN MASSACRE'S LAST DETAINEE IS FREED
September 02, 2002 10:33 AM
Hanna Shallita, 46, the last detainee held in connection with the 1978 massacre of Tony Franjieh, the standard –bearer of the pro-Syrian Franjieh clan, has been set free after paying an LL5 million bail on Friday, An Nahar said on Saturday.
Tony Franjieh, the father of current president aspirant Suleiman Franjieh, was massacred with his wife, his 3-year-old daughter and 31 bodyguards at his summer villa in Ehden, north Lebanon, on the very day U.N. peacekeeping forces were deploying in south Lebanon 24 years ago.

Shallita was arrested during a 1994 government crackdown on Samir Geagea's Lebanese Forces, the former Christian civil war militia that was accused of staging the Ehden carnage.

Shallita has since been held in solitary confinement without trial, claiming he had been physically tortured with electric shocks during interrogation sessions about his alleged role in the Ehden atrocity, Amnesty International contends.

His release, however, leaves no one detained in connection with the Ehden crime. Suleiman Franjieh, public health minister in the present government, has declared that he personally holds no grudge against Geagea or the Lebanese Forces.

Geagea is serving a total of 120 years imprisonment on charges of assassinating rivals in the Christian heartland during the civil war. But the Lebanese Forces and Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir contend Geagea's trials were politically motivated and are demanding his speedy release.

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