Hezbollah blamed for attack on Lebanese election candidate

Ali Al Amin is running for seat in southern Lebanon where Hezbollah is dominant

A picture taken on April 3, 2018 shows campaign posters, for the upcoming Lebanese parliamentary election, hanging in the industrial zone of Dora on the northern outskirts of Beirut.
As its first parliamentary vote in nearly a decade nears, Lebanon has been swept into campaign fever: posters on every corner, televised debates, and neighbours bickering over new electoral procedures. / AFP PHOTO / AFP- / Anwar AMRO
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A candidate in Lebanon's May 6 parliamentary election was treated in hospital on Sunday after what he said was an attack by “thugs” belonging to Hezbollah.

Ali Al Amin, who is running for a Shiite seat in southern Lebanon, said he was attacked while putting up campaign posters in his home village of Shaqra, near the city of Bint Jbeil.

Hezbollah is the dominant political force in southern Lebanon and, in an alliance with the Amal party, swept all the Shiite seats in the area in the last parliamentary election in 2009. Lebanon's parliamentary seats are apportioned according to sect.

Mr Al Amin is journalist who runs the janoubia.com website and is an outspoken critic of Hezbollah.

He described the attack in a video posted on his Facebook page on Sunday afternoon, saying said he was set upon by a group of more than 30 "Hezbollah thugs" who left him with a broken tooth.

Imad Koumayha, another candidate from Mr Al Amin's list, called on Lebanese President Michel Aoun and the General Security Directorate to investigate the attack.

"We want justice," Mr Koumayha, who was at the hospital with Mr Al Amin, told The National.

Hezbollah “does not accept other political opinions”, he said.

Last month, an election candidate in the city of Baalbek, in eastern Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, accused Hezbollah of framing him on drug charges and shooting at his driver. The candidate, Abbas Al Jawhari, has since withdrawn from the race.

Mr Al Amin insisted he would stay in the election.

"This incident won't affect us, we're still going to run. But we want the world to see what kind of elections will be held under Hezbollah," he told Agence France-Presse.


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Mr Al Amin received condolences after the attack from Future Movement, the party of Prime Minister Saad Hariri who has himself has been critical of Hezbollah during the campaign, particularly over the weekend as he campaigned in Bekaa.

Mr Hariri has accused Hezbollah of promoting return of Syrian stewardship over Lebanon. The Syrian government occupied Lebanon for nearly three decades until it withdrew its military in 2005 following the murder of Mr Hariri’s father, former prime minister Rafik Hariri.  A UN tribunal investigating the bombings indicted members of Hezbollah on suspicion of helping plan and execute the assassination, but the group's leader Hassan Nasrallah has vowed none of its members will be turned over to a court outside Lebanon.

“You saw and heard them calling the political rhetoric of the Future Movement in the Bekaa and other areas as provocative and sectarian,” Mr Hariri said, referring to Hezbollah and its allies.

“You heard them asking the people of Bekaa to restore relations with the Syrian regime. They want the people of West Bekaa to accept opening new branches for the Syrian intelligence in Anjar and intercede for the killers of the children of Syria and for all parties and states that participated in killing and displacing the Syrian people.”


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