The notorious Lebanese war criminal, Amer Fakhoury who took sadistic pleasure in torturing detainees at the Khiam concentration camp in South Lebanon, was whisked out of Beirut on March 19. A US military helicopter lifted the convicted criminal who had earned the title ‘The Butcher of Khiam’, out of the US embassy.
Fakhoury was the warden at the Khiam Concentration Camp. It was established by the Zionist occupation army but nominally run by the South Lebanese Army (SLA). This mercenary outfit of Christian militia was under the direct command of the Zionists, who also financed it.
Established in 1985, the Khiam concentration camp was a torture chamber in which those Lebanese struggling to liberate their land from the clutches of the Zionists were kept in cages and tortured. In May 2000, the Hizbullah drove the Zionist invaders out of much of South Lebanon including the Khiam concentration camp, except the Sheba Farms.
It was after its liberation that the true extent of the horrors inflicted on the detainees came to light. Fakhoury fled to Israel and his boss, General Antoine Lahad, head of the SLA, fled to France, where he died in September 2015. This clearly indicated their criminal role in the torture and other cruel punishments inflicted on the detainees. From Israel, Fakhoury went to the US where he acquired American citizenship.
Following the liberation of much of South Lebanon including the Khiam concentration camp, many SLA members were captured and tried on charges of collaborating with the enemy. Hizbullah Secretary General Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah issued orders that no one should take the law into their own hands or seek revenge regardless of how grievous their suffering. He insisted that all those criminals should be dealt with in a court of law.
Fakhoury was one of the principal accused even though he had fled the country and was given refuge by his Zionist masters. The charges against him included torture, kidnapping, and collaborating with the enemy. He was sentenced in absentia to 15 years in prison since he had already fled the country.
It is quite revealing that the US not only harbors war criminals but also whisks them out of another country if they are caught and brought to justice. Contrast this with the US’ illegal detention of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay that have not been convicted of any crime in a properly constituted court of law. The US has subjected the Guatanamo detainees to horrible torture including water boarding. Many are still languishing there since it was first opened in 2002.
In September 2019, Fakhoury returned to Beirut believing that his American passport would protect him. He was not wrong. The dictum ‘might is right’ prevails in the world. He was arrested but under US pressure, a Lebanese military tribunal set him free on a “technicality”, that too much time had elapsed between the time the crimes were committed and his arrest.
The military tribunal even ignored Fakhoury’s conviction in absentia resulting in his being flown out of Lebanon. This was another blow to the thousands of Lebanese, among them hundreds of women and children, that were imprisoned and mercilessly tortured in Khiam.
In early 2010, this writer had the opportunity to visit the Khiam concentration camp to see firsthand what the detained Lebanese strugglers had endured. Situated on a hilltop, the Hula Valley was visible below as well as the Israeli occupied Golan Heights in the distance.
To reach Khiam, one has to drive through Kafr Qala, a small town with an Israeli military post just across the road. All that separates the Zionist occupiers from the Lebanese town is a narrow road. A few Italian soldiers with the UN peacekeeping force stood around lazily on the road. Beyond Kafr Qala, the road goes up the mountain until one reaches Khiam.
We were met by Hajj Hussain, a stout man with a small stub and deeply creased face. He was one of the detainees before his rescue by the Hizbullah in May 2000. The Lebanese have also erected a monument in memory of the four UN military observers including a Canadian Major Paeta Hess-von Kreudener, slain by the Israelis. Their clearly marked observation post was deliberately targeted by the Zionists in an act of pre-meditated murder.
Throughout the day on July 25, 2006 Israeli shells were falling around them. The UN observers repeatedly contacted the Israeli military informing them of the shell fire and once again gave them the precise coordinates of their observation post. It was “just before 7.30 in the evening, when an Israeli F-16 fighter-bomber pilot dropped a GPS-guided 1,000-lb bomb directly onto the UN compound,” blowing up the four military officers to pieces, according to Robert Fisk, one of the most outstanding journalists reporting on the Middle East.
In addition to the rows of small concrete cells with metal gates, many with gaping shell holes because of Israeli firing, Hajj Hussain showed us the special metal cages in which detainees were tortured. Measuring 3 ft x 3 ft and 3 ft high, prisoners were forced into them and the lid closed on top. The metal cages had a few tiny holes to allow air for breathing.
Members of the SLA would then take a metal rod and bang on top of the lid. “To be crammed into a small cage in which one has to crouch to fit in and then be subjected to ear-piercing noise was unbearable,” said Hajj Hussain who had endured many rounds in the cage because of his refusal to divulge any information about Hizbullah fighters. Detainees were kept in these metal boxes for several days in the hot sun. When they were taken out, many could not stand or walk.
Detainees were also subjected to electric shock, on the express orders of Fakhoury who took great pleasure in hearing their screams. This war criminal was also guilty of treason and should have been executed but was whisked out of Lebanon because he had an ‘American passport.’
A few months before the torture camp’s liberation by the Hizbullah, Human Rights Watch had published a report on October 27, 1999 titled ‘Torture in Khiam Prison: Responsibility and Accountability’. The human rights body made clear in its report that ‘Israeli’ intelligence agents were directly involved in systematic acts of torture at the Khiam concentration camp. The prison was theoretically administered, maintained and guarded by the South Lebanon Army (SLA). It was Israel’s proxy militia.
One of those torturers—Fakhoury—may have escaped justice in this world, but there will be no escape from the divine justice that awaits him on the other side. Of that we are certain. He will face retribution for the horrific crimes he perpetrated against innocent men, women and children at the behest of his equally criminal Zionist masters.