Lebanese social media and several officials erupted over the murder of prominent Lebanese activist and intellectual, Lokman Slim, on which many were already commenting as the latest in the long list of Lebanon’s political assassinations.
Slim, known for his opposition to Hizbullah, was found dead in his car in the country’s south on Thursday.
Interior Minister Mohammed Fahmi, quoted in local media, called Slim’s killing a “horrible crime”.
Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea said in a tweet: “Lokman Slim is a martyr of free opinion. If evil won one round, good and righteousness shall win a thousand.”
The Kataeb Party described the crime as an “execution” in “a stronghold whose orientation and belonging are well-known.”
“This crime is a return to the series of political assassinations and a desperate attempt to strike diversity and the other opinion and silence free voices demanding the rise of a sovereign, free and independent state.”
The United Nations envoy to Lebanon Jan Kubis wrote that
he was saddened by Slim’s murder, describing him as “an honest independent voice of courage”.
He also said that, unlike the port blast, Slim’s murder should be investigated in a “speedy and transparent way”.
Lokman Slim, 58, had long been a leading secular voice in the Shiite community and was routinely targeted for criticism, and often threatened, over his anti-Hizbullah stance.
A gathering of Lebanese Christians, known as “Lady of the Mountain Gathering” denounced Slim’s “assassination.”
“The assassination of Lokman Slim is a categorical indication of the bankruptcy of militias that find nothing but terror and violence. Slim was assassinated in Hizbullah stronghold and therefore it is the main suspect. The party better tell the Lebanese how the crime happened or shoulder total responsibility” for it, the Gathering said.
MP Marwan Hamadeh said: “In the tenure of terrorism and corruption there is no place for someone like Lokman Slim.”
Former MP Bassem al-Sabaa said: “Killing of activist Lokman Slim is a direct message to all Shiite activists, writers and politicians who express their opinions outside the political orbit of Hizbullah.”