The reaction to yesterday murder of the 2 elderly grandparents and their 2 grand children was that of shock and outrage, but the killing of the murderer by the angry residents was condemned by Lebanese officials
Some called the action of the residents barbaric while some said the murderer got what he deserved. Most of the Lebanese are concerned that the double crime will tarnish Lebanon ‘s image.
The results of the DNA tests proved that Mohammed Salim Mosallam, the suspect in the killing of 4 members of a local family in the Mount Lebanon village of Ketermaya, is the murderer, the National News Agency said Friday, but his death will mean that Lebanon will never be able to find out the motive behind this horrific murder.
National News Agency said Mosallam shot to death Youssef Abu Merhi, 75, and his wife Kawthar, 70, along with their grand children Zeina, 7, and Amneh, 9.
The Ketermaya residents reacted to the murder by slaughtering Mosallam and parading his body through town in retaliation.
NNA said Mosallem , a 38-year-old Egyptian who worked as a butcher in Ketermaya, was rushed to hospital by police after he was badly wounded by the mob.
Local media said dozens of residents intercepted a police jeep carrying Mosallam to the reenactment site, dragged the killer out and attacked him with sticks and knives.
His body hung from the pole for about 10 minutes before Lebanese army troops took him down and drove him away in a jeep, an AP photographer at the scene said.
But the locals chased the killer to Siblin hospital, dragged him out and beat him with sticks to death. After the killing, the crowd stripped Mosallem down to his underpants and dragged his body through Ketermaya.
There, the residents tied a metal wire around his neck and hung him from an electric pole.
“Let the criminal be hanged, to be a lesson for all others who think of killing like this,” cried the crowd.
“We thank the security forces for giving us the murderer as a gift so that we could seek revenge for our children with our own hands,” Khaled al-Sayyed, a local grocer , told Reuters.
The bullet-riddled bodies were discovered Wednesday by the two slain girls’ mother, Rana Youssef Abu Merhi, as she returned home from work.
The bodies were lying on the floor of Youssef Abu Merhi’s house in Ketermaya in the Iqlim al-Kharroub region of Mount Lebanon southeast of Beirut.
Lebanon’s image tarnished
Thursday’s murder of Mohammed Salim Mosallamu tarnishes Lebanon’s image, especially given that security forces were successful in arresting the criminal within 24 hours of the incident, said a statement issued by President Michel Sleiman’s office on Friday.
The statement said Suleiman requested Interior Minister Ziad Baroud and Justice Minister Ibrahim Najjar to arrest the perpetrators and punish those negligent in preventing the crime.
Interior Minister Ziad Baroud has said that he regrets that a life has been taken “unjustly,” adding that such vigilante justice was “extremely dangerous ” and tarnishes Lebanon’s image
Baroud summoned Internal Security Forces chief Ashraf Rifi, Judicial Police chief Brig. Gen. Anwar Yehia and Gendarmerie chief Brig. Gen. Antoine Shakkour to the ministry in order to be briefed on Ketermaya crime.
Baroud asked ISF General Inspector Brig. Gen. Simon Haddad to open an instant investigation in order to identify deficiencies in operational procedures and those responsible so that the right disciplinary measures be taken.
The interior minister telephoned Prosecutor General Magistrate Saeed Mirza for the same purpose.
Baroud extended his condolences to the relatives of the slain victims “strongly condemning the horrible crime and recognizing their anger and pain.”
The killing of Mohammed Salim Mosallam by Ketermaya residents is a crime,
Baroud told OTV Friday. Taking justice into their own hands was unacceptable despite their
anger, he added.
Baroud expressed dismay for “fulfilling justice through non-judicial ways and before completion of the investigation into the crime, particularly since the suspect was arrested by security forces less than 24 hours from the occurrence of the crime.”
Baroud stressed that it is “very dangerous” to seek the fulfillment of justice “in this fashion.”
“What if the suspect had not been the perpetrator? What if someone instigated him?” Baroud asked, adding that the preliminary investigations are being kept secret for the time being.
Rifi condemned the crime of killing the four Abu Merhi family members, noting that he took “disciplinary measures against a number of officers and policemen for their committing major mistakes in underestimating the situation on the ground and failing to provide enough and necessary protection for the suspect in this crime.
Justice Minister Ibrahim Najjar told LBCI television Friday that Thursday’s murder of Mohammed Salim Mosallam will distort the image of Lebanon and its judiciary.
“There is no legal justification to back the villagers’ reaction,” Najjar said, adding that such an act is unacceptable.
He also said at least 10 people participated in Mosallam’s murder and called on legal authorities to take proper measures.