Amer Fakhoury was freed from a prison in Lebanon, where he had been jailed since September 2019, accused of being responsible of the killings and abuse of prisoners in Lebanon as part of an Israeli-backed militia two decades ago
An American citizen who had faced decades-old murder and torture charges in Lebanon has been freed, President Donald Trump announced this morning.
Trump dedicated the first few minutes of his daily coronavirus task force briefing to talk about the release of Amer Fakhoury, which he hailed as a ‘big thing, very big.’
‘He is battling late stage cancer.
Mr Fakhoury will now be able to receive the much needed care and treatment in the United States.’
Trump continued: ‘we’ve been working very hard to get him freed, and he’s finally able to have his entire family at his side. So I’m very grateful to the Lebanese government that worked with us.
‘We are very proud of his family.
They stood by him so strongly, and they are thrilled.
‘The United States has no higher priority than the safety and well-being of our citizens.’
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat from New Hampshire, said in a statement that she had spoken with Fakhoury on the phone soon after his release.
A US Marine Osprey is seen taking off from the US Embassy in Aukar, northeast of Beirut, Lebanon, Thursday, purportedly with Fakhoury on board following his release from prison
President Trump this morning announced Fakhoury’s release, which he hailed as a ‘big thing’
She also released a statement from Fakhoury’s family on her website thanking Shaheen for helping secure Amer’s release amid his battle with lymphoma.
‘It’s hard to put into words how grateful and relieved we are to finally be returning to the United States with Amer,’ the statement read.
‘We have been through a nightmare that we would never wish on anyone. From the bottom of our hearts, we want to thank everyone who believed in Amer’s innocence and fought tirelessly to bring him home to the country he loves. First and foremost, we want to thank Senator Shaheen and her staff who have been relentless in their efforts to free Amer.
Senator Shaheen pursued every means possible to secure Amer’s freedom—this would not have happened without her. Amer considers Senator Shaheen his hero.’
The Fakhoury family on Thursday released a statement thanking Sen Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat from New Hampshire, for helping secure the prisoner’s release from Lebanon
The family also extended their thanks to Trump and members of his administration who took part in the negotiations for Fakhoury’s release.
‘Amer is in very poor health and urgently needs care, but all of you gave him a fighting chance and most importantly, hope and freedom.
God Bless America,’ the family’s message concluded.
Lebanese officials alleged that Fakhoury, 57, of Dover, New Hampshire, who had been jailed since September, implant overdenture was responsible for the killings and abuse of prisoners in Lebanon as part of an Israeli-backed militia two decades ago.
His case had put a significant strain on already troubled ties between the US and Lebanon. Lawmakers in Washington had threatened to withhold critical aid to the country and impose sanctions on the Lebanese military, which is seen by the Trump administration as a bulwark against the Iranian-backed Hezbollah movement.
‘Anytime a U.S citizen is wrongfully detained by a foreign government, we must use every tool at our disposal to free them,’ Shaheen said in her statement.
‘I´m very glad that Amer is finally coming home and will be reunited with his family. No family should have to go through what the Fakhoury family has gone through.’
Hours before Shaheen announced Fakhoury’s release a US Marine Osprey was seen landing at the US Embassy in Beirut.
Fakhoury is a Trump supporter and attended a campaign event with the president in New Hampshire.
He became a naturalized US citizen last year