In Lebanon, the return to Beirut of the "butcher of Khiam" reopens the wounds

The occupation of southern Lebanon by Israel until 2000 is still alive in the memories and the prescription of crimes committed by Lebanese deputies is poorly accepted.

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Members of the Amal movement demonstrate in front of the former Khiam Prison to demand the trial of Amer Fakhoury on 15 September. JOSEPH EID / AFP

When Kiffah Afifi, a small concentration of energy and good humor, is asked how she reacted to the return to Lebanon of Amer Fakhoury, the man who tortured her in the late 1980s and lived in exile for almost twenty years, the answer slams. "It's like an earthquake, as if all my scars were reopening at once. "

In mid-September, the former officer of the South Lebanon Army (SLA), the auxiliary militia of Israeli troops, from the time they occupied the southern cedar country (1978-2000), landed in Beirut. And to the general amazement, the former collaborator of "The Zionist enemy", who was serving as the military chief of Khiam prison, a sinister jail where thousands of Palestinians and Palestinians languished, was able to cross the airport's security check safely.

This feat, a sign of serious dysfunction or internal complicity, has not only triggered one of these polemics full of galls of which Lebanese politicians have the secret. It has also reopened the poorly closed wounds of the Israeli occupation, two decades of lead, which have caused thousands of deaths and uprooted people in the southern fringe of the country.

"Bitter supervised the tortures"

Like most SLA fighters, Amer Fakhoury had fled to Israel after the IDF's withdrawal from southern Lebanon. An operation carried out in disaster, May 25, 2000, under the blows of Hezbollah, the Shiite guerillas Proiranienne. Of the 6,500 Lebanese, including women and children, who had then rushed to the gate of Fatima, straddling the border, about a third still resides in the Hebrew State, which has regularized their situation.

Some of them emigrated to Europe and North America, like Amer Fakhoury, who became a citizen of the United States. And another party, between 1,000 and 2,000, managed to negotiate his return to Lebanon, sometimes with a small prison sentence. But never a frame with a reputation as sulphurous as Fakhoury had dared to set foot in his native country.

"Bitter supervised the tortures, he gave the orders and sometimes he attended the sessions, recalls Kiffah Afifi, a former Fatah fighter, the party of Yasser Arafat, imprisoned in Khiam in 1988, at the age of 17, after being captured, hand-held, in northern Israel. We were whipping the soles of our feet. I was also dragged by the hair in a burning fireplace. But their favorite thing with women was to beat us on our menses day. We did not have a stamp of course. It made them laugh to see the soil stained with blood. And then they forced us to clean. "


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