Fayad charged with backing a Colombian terrorist organization

Ali Fayad
Ali Fayad

The military prosecutor  charged on Tuesday Ali Fayad with backing a Colombian terrorist organization and selling arms and ammunition to the group.

Judge Saqr Saqr issued the charges against Fayad, also known as Ali Amin, after receiving his file from General Prosecutor  Judge Samir Hammoud.

Saqr accused Fayad of backing the Colombian group and selling it arms, missiles and other material to use them in attacks against Americans.

The judge referred the suspect to First Military Examining Magistrate Riad Abu Ghida.

Lebanese authorities detained  Fayad in early February  upon his arrival at Beirut airport following his deportation from Prague by the Czech Republic where he was in danger of being extradited to the U.S. over weapons and drugs charges.

His lawyer Kamal Al-Hafi told reporters from outside the Justice Palace that  Judge Hammoud had filed a request to Interpol to receive Fayad’s case file.

He pointed out that the file usually requires 15 days to be reclaimed, during which time Fayad will remain in custody.

“It’s normal that Fayad remains in custody until the general prosecution takes a decision in the matter,” he said.

Czech Republic’s Justice Minister Robert Pelikan decided not to extradite Fayad to the U.S. apparently in a swap deal to see the release of five Czech citizens abducted in Lebanon in July 2015.

Prague’s Municipal Court had allowed the extradition of Fayad, and two other Lebanese citizens ( Khaled Merebi and Faouzi Jaber who also hold Ivory Coast nationality ) in September last year.

The three were arrested in Prague 2014. U.S. authorities suspected the three Lebanese men of trying to sell weapons to U.S. agents pretending to be linked to Colombian guerrilla group FARC.

Czech and Lebanese media reported in early February that Fayad was a Lebanese intelligence agent. Other reports pointed out that he is linked to the Iranian backed Hezbollah militant group , which reportedly launders money to drug cartels in Columbia and Venezuela

Czech Court spokeswoman Marketa Puci said that Fayad and Khaled Merebi, were released from detention following the minister’s decision.

The minister decided on February 25 to extradite Faouzi Jaber  who holds the Ivory Coast nationality to the US .

Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek denied that Fayad was released in exchange for the Czechs, adding that the government doesn’t do business with “terrorists”.

The case is surrounded by a myriad of unanswered questions, as Fayad’s Czech lawyer was among the five who went missing. Their Lebanese driver who reportedly kidnapped them was identified by Lebanese media as Fayad’s brother, Saeb.

A Lebanese security source told Reuters in early February that   Fayad who also holds the Ukranian nationality had also acted as an adviser to the Ukrainian defence minister.