Fadl Shaker: Lebanese singer-turned-extremist sentenced to 22 years in prison

Shaker sentenced in his absence

A Lebanese military tribunal sentenced a singer-­turned-terrorist to 22 years in prison for his role in a 2013 attack on soldiers near the southern city of Sidon.

Eighteen troops died in the attack, which was led by armed supporters of radical preacher Ahmad Al Assir, in Abra, east of Sidon.

Fadel Shmandar, also known as Fadel Shaker, was tried in his absence.

He claimed that he and other supporters of Al Assir took up arms only after they were threatened by the Resistance Brigades, paramilitaries affiliated with Iran-backed Hezbollah.

Al Assir was arrested in 2015 while attempting to flee Lebanon through Beirut International Airport. He was sentenced to death two years later for orchestrating the 2013 attack.

Lebanon has not carried out a death penalty in more than a decade and the sentence usually translates to life in prison.

The military court sentenced Shaker to 15 years in prison on Wednesday for knowingly providing logistical support for terrorist acts.

He received another seven years for financing Al Assir’s armed group, Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency reported.

The former singer was also stripped of his civil rights and received a fine of 5 million Lebanese pounds ($3,320).

It is not the first time Shaker has been found guilty for activity related to the Abra clashes. He was sentenced to 15 years in his absence in 2017.

Shaker is believed to be living in Ain El Helweh, a Palestinian refugee camp south-east of Sidon that, with more than 120,000 residents, is the largest such camp in Lebanon.

He continued to release music and called on the authorities to allow him to return to normal life.