CAIRO: Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hossam Zaki condemned on Saturday the killing and lynching of Egyptian national Mohamed Selim Muslim in a public square in the village of Ketermaya south of Beirut.
Muslim was stabbed to death by a mob last Thursday for confessing to the murder of four Lebanese nationals. A group of villagers from Ketermaya attacked the 38-year-old butcher while on his way to reenact the crime in the presence of police forces.
Muslim was still alive when he was transferred to a local hospital, but the mob followed him into the hospital, stabbed him to death and then hanged him from a pole in the village square, according to press reports.
He was stripped down to his underwear and hung by the neck for more than half an hour as hundreds of villagers from Ketermaya were reportedly ululating.
Footage of the bloody killing was aired on local television as well as on YouTube.
“This incident highlights the structural weakness of the Lebanese government and its judicial system,” Nabil Abdel-Fatah, a political analyst at Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies told Daily News Egypt.
“It also sheds light on the marginalized areas of southern Lebanon whose culture is characterized by violence.”
Abdel-Fatah added that violence in the southern Lebanese cities is a result of widespread extremist views fueled by years of negligence and underdevelopment.
In his statement, Zaki also condemned the murder of four the Lebanese nationals, Youssef Abou Mar’ei, his wife Kawthar and their two granddaughters Zein and Amena, to which Muslim had confessed.
Zaki said that Prime Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit called on the Egyptian embassy in Beirut to communicate with local Lebanese authorities to ensure that the law is enforced and that the perpetrators are held accountable, adding that Egypt is expecting the Lebanese government to take appropriate measures.
“I don’t think this incident will affect Egyptian-Lebanese relations,” said Abdel-Fatah.
“Egypt supports Saad El-Hariri’s government in the face of Hezbollah and its allies in Iran and Syria, and it is willing to support the security and judicial systems in Lebanon.”
In addition, Abdel-Fatah explained that the fact that Muslim had been previously convicted in a rape case and was a main suspect in a murder case will rule out tension between both states over the killing.
“I think Egypt will follow legal and diplomatic measures in dealing with the situation,” he added.
Meanwhile, Lebanese President Michelle Suleiman also denounced the killing, calling on local security forces to arrest the perpetrators and penalize those accused of negligence, according to state online news portal egynews.net.
The head of Lebanese national security has reportedly started an investigation, accusing local officials of failing to protect Muslim.
Lebanese General Ashraf Reefy said that the events that led to the murder were a result of miscalculations and an inability to foresee the repercussions of the first murder, according to egynews.net.
Although the motive behind the killing of four members of the same family has not yet been determined, Muslim was reportedly turned down when he proposed marriage to a member of the victims’ family.
Over the weekend, local press reports quoted Muslim’s aunt, the relative he lived with in Egypt before moving to Lebanon, alleging that Muslim had sustained a head injury at the age of four which caused him to carry out raging acts in the past.
In Lebanon, Muslim lived with his mother and step father.