Death Sentences for Militants Linked to 2011 Estonian Hostage Drama ({{commentsTotal}})

Seven cyclists who were held by kidnappers in Lebanon and Syria for 133 days
Seven cyclists who were held by kidnappers in Lebanon and Syria for 133 days Source: Photo: ERR

A Lebanese military tribunal has handed down death sentences for 26 individuals for their involvement in the 2011 abduction of seven Estonian cyclists and a host of other crimes.

A total of 29 suspects had been arraigned for their involvement in the crime, as well as a number of others committed in Lebanon over the past year, according to a report at the Naharnet news site.

Besides their involvement in the abduction, the suspects were charged with organized crime, subversion, association with the Fatah al-Islam militant group, using unauthorized weapons, the murder of a security forces member Rashed Sabri, and attacks against members of the Internal Security Forces Intelligence Bureau.

They were also found guilty of armed robbery and forging Lebanese passports and identification cards.

In addition, they have been charged with bombing stores that sell liquor and vandalizing Christian monuments.

Nineteen of the death sentences were handed down in absentia. The ones still at large include a Syrian national, Mohammed Ahmed Ahmed, also known as Abu Zarif, who has been detained by the Syrian authorities.

The seven Estonian cyclists were kidnapped in Lebanon in March 2011 as they entered the country from Syria. They were abducted in the eastern Bekaa and kept in captivity in Lebanon and Syria until July of that year, when they were released unharmed.

Wael Abbas, the suspected ringleader in the abduction, was arrested in November 2011. He was detained by Syrian security forces as he was attempting to escape to the country using a false ID.

In September, the Internal Security Forces killed two accomplices of the alleged mastermind behind the kidnapping during clashes in the area of al-Bireh in Rashaya.

 

Kristopher Rikken



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