Lebanon commemorates 7th anniversary of Tueni’s death

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Lebanon commemorated Wednesday the seventh anniversary of the death of journalist Gebran Tueni who was killed in a car bomb on Dec. 12, 2005.

A Mass, headed by Beirut Greek Orthodox Archbishop, Elias Audeh was held at the St. Demetrius Church in Beirut’s Ashrafieh district to commemorate Tueni in the presence of several Beirut MPs, the family of the deceased and dignitaries.

Aoudeh said Tueni’s killing had come as a big shock to the youth who dreamed of living in peace in their nation.

He added that the veteran journalist was a free man who defended the right of country to sovereignty and independence.

The bishop called on the Lebanese to unite and overcome their differences to make their country their top priority.

“Gibran placed the homeland as his top priority and he died for the country. We pray God to preserve our Lebanon and for us to make it our priority,” he said.

Tueni, an outspoken Lebanese journalist and anti-Syrian politician, was the former editor and publisher of An-Nahar newspaper and an MP.

He was killed in a car bomb in Mkalles a day after returning from Paris, where he had received information his life was no longer under threat.

His assassination was one in a series in which anti-Syrian officials were targeted in the aftermath of the Feb. 2005 killing of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri issued a statement Wednesday praising Tueni as a unique figure and staunch defender of freedoms, saying his death left a great vacuum in the country.

“The void Tueni left on our patriotic and media life was very big. Tueni was distinguished by a rare courage in expressing his stances and in his writings,” said Hariri.

He read a quote from the late Tueni, in which he said Christians and Muslims must remain united for the sake of great Lebanon, which he said still echoes on every occasion where there is a case of freedom or justice.

Tueni’s daughter, Michele, said in a statement after the Mass that losing her father early was a difficult challenge and major loss to Lebanon.

She also said it was regretful that, seven years after Tueni’s killing, those behind the assassination still haven’t been brought to justice and punished for their crime.

“Our consolation is that they won’t be spared the celestial justice,” said Tueni.

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