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Tuesday, July 26, 2005 

Lebanese warlord Jaja walks out of prison

Samir Jaja, mass murderer and warlord walked out of prison for the first time in 11 years today. He immediately went to Beirut airport to fly to Europe for medical tests.

Parliament voted for his release last week. He is a rival of radical anti-Syrian Michel Aoun. But Aoun refused to join the government after he was denied the Justice Ministry - and was not allowed to join the mainsteam anti-Syrian coalition. Aoun won 21 seats in Parliament making him the strongest rival to the government. He's also the only Christian leader.

Some analysts wonder whether Parliament's decision to release Jaja was politically motivated - to bring a Christian leader under the control of the government and weaken the appeal of the unpredicatable Aoun.

Jaja's Lebanese Forces party is banned, but some of its members won seats in the recent elections.

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