Sunday, April 27, 2008

Spokesman for the French Socialist Party detained and interrogated by Hizbullah

Poster showing Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah along the highway towards Beirut airport

Hezbollah armed men allegedly interrogate French dignitary

Sunday, 27 April, 2008

Beirut, Lebanon - Armed men suspected to be members of Hezbollah, detained and interrogated a delegate from France in the party's stronghold in south Beirut.

The French delegate, (who) was attending the Socialist International meeting in Beirut, was touring the capital in a convertible car, (and) was at the time taking pictures of posters showing Hezbollah "martyrs" who died in combat.

The incident was reported by a senior member of Walid Jumblatt's Progressive Socialist Party, Wael Abou Faour.
French delegate Karim Pakzad was on the airport road when a motorcyclist followed by a four wheel-drive car carrying armed men stopped him and interrogated him, Abou Faour said.

The road leading to the airport is in a zone dominated by Hizbullah.
Jumblatt, a key leader of the anti-Syrian majority, plans to hold a press conference early Sunday to explain the circumstances surrounding the incident, Abou Faour said.
The Socialist International was holding a two-day conference in Beirut for its Mediterranean Committee. In its final statement, the committee called for the immediate election of a president. (YaLibnan)


BEIRUT, April 27, 2008 (AFP) - A French delegate to a Socialist International meeting in Beirut said on Sunday that he had been briefly detained the previous day by armed men linked to Hezbollah. Delegate Karim Pakzad told a Beirut news conference that he was stopped on Saturday by armed men who "spoke on behalf of Hezbollah" -- Lebanon's powerful Shiite militant movement -- who questioned him for five hours before freeing him. Pakzad said it happened as he was touring the capital in an open-top car with a Lebanese friend and taking pictures of a mosque along the airport road, near Hezbollah's stronghold in Beirut's southern suburbs. "Armed men asked us 'why do you have a camera' and 'what are you doing here,'" before viewing the pictures he had taken with his digital camera, Pakzad said. He was taken blindfolded to an unidentified location where he was kept isolated for five hours, adding that his captors took away his cell phone, wallet and medicine. Contacted by AFP, Hezbollah said it had no immediate information about the incident. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah is Israel's public enemy number one and the movement operates stringent security measures in its Beirut stronghold requiring even press photographers to seek prior permission.


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