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French Version

Fortieth day since Gebran Tueni's death commemorated

A commemoration of the passing of 40 days since the assassination of Beirut MP Gebran Tueni was held Sunday at the St. Georges Cathedral in central Beirut. The ceremony was attended by several politicians, media representatives and diplomats, as well as the deceased's family, lead by media patriarch Ghassan Tueni. Also present were many of the late Tueni's An-Nahar newspaper colleagues.

In his sermon, Beirut Archbishop Elias Aoude said "Gebran's sin was that he loved his country. He loved it enough to die for it.

"Gebran believed in the freedom of his country and he taught the youth how to fight for this freedom - with ideals and wisdom, not with blood and arms."

The archbishop continued: "But now my question is: what kind of country deserves the death of so many men? A farm? A jungle? Or a solid nation?"

MP Saad Hariri, in a statement, described Tueni as the "Independence Intifada's hero and freedom fighter."

"The evil people who murdered Gebran Tueni are those same people who tried to kill Marwan Hamade in 2004 and who killed Rafik Hariri in 2005, along with Bassel Fleihan and then later on Samir Kassir and George Hawi," it read.

"They also tried but failed to kill television anchor May Chidiac and Defense Minister Elias Murr," it added. "I strongly believe that those lame and cowardly people will end up being put on trial in front of an international court and get the punishment they deserve."

The commemoration of the passing of 40 days is a religious tradition whereby it is believed that on that day, the soul leaves the body and "goes to meet its creator."

In the coming days, and in accordance with the Tueni family traditions, his body will be exhumed from the St. Dimitrios cemetery in Achrafieh and transferred to the Tueni mansion is Beit Mery, where he will be buried next to his late mother, brother and sister.

Tueni, 48, and three others were killed on December 12, 2004 when a car bomb targeting the MP's vehicle exploded in a Beirut suburb, just hours after the MP returned from France.

Tueni's assassination was the 13th such attack since the massive blast that killed former Premier Rafik Hariri in February 2004 and plunged Lebanon into chaos.

Beirut,01 23 2006
Jessy Chahine
The Daily Star
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