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Thursday, April 28, 2005 

Parliamentiary Committee says release Jaja

A Lebanese committee made up of MPs has recommended that Samir Jaja, leader of the Christian 'Lebanese Forces' faction be released.

He has been imprisoned for 11 years for war crimes committed during the Lebanese Civil War. During his trial - which began in 1994 - he was also accused of bombing a church. He was aquitted, but remained in prison, suspected of other crimes.

Lebanese opposition politicians from across the political spectrum have demanded his release as an essential step to national reconciliation. Jaja's imprisonment and the injustice has been an open wound in Lebanese society in the post-war period. The LF may not have a lot of support, but the opposition realises that Lebanon can't bury its head in the sand.

Jaja's wife Strida has been setting out the Lebanese Forces' election campaign. She said:
"The Lebanese Forces wants to forge excellent ties with Syria, ties based on peaceful neighbourhood and mutual respect and interest, as per the Taef Accord."

Just days ago, members of the LF came on to the streets of Beirut, marking the first faction to openly parade since the end of the Civil War. The organisers of the opposition protests have insisted that divisive sectarian flags be kept away.

At the weekend supporters of the LF clashed with other Christians in a knife fight which put two people in hospital.


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