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This undated family photo released on Sunday, Dec 17, 2017 by Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London, shows Rebecca Dykes, a British staffer at the British embassy in Lebanon, who was found strangled by the side of the road on Saturday east of the Lebanese capital Beirut. Lebanese officials said that she was found strangled and authorities are investigating whether she was also sexually assaulted . (Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office via AP)
This undated family photo released on Sunday, Dec 17, 2017 by Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London, shows Rebecca Dykes, a British staffer at the British embassy in Lebanon, who was found strangled by the side of the road on Saturday east of the Lebanese capital Beirut. (Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office via AP)

A Lebanese court on Friday sentenced an Uber driver to death for the 2017 murder of British embassy worker Rebecca Dykes, the National News Agency reported.

The Mount Lebanon criminal court sentenced the accused to death for the rape and murder of the young British woman, the agency said, naming the killer as Tarek Samir Howeisheh.

The 30-year-old’s lifeless body was found dumped on the side of a road north of Beirut in December 2017.

The driver employed by ride-hailing giant Uber was reported by judicial sources at the time as having been arrested twice prior to the murder for alleged harassment and theft.

Capital punishment is legal in Lebanon although no execution has been carried out in 15 years.

UK Embassy Lauds move

The UK Embassy thanked “the many Lebanese authorities and officials who have responded to Becky’s murder with the utmost professionalism and compassion.”

Rebecca (“Becky”) Dykes was “a talented, devoted humanitarian, whose skill, expertise, and passion improved the lives of many people,” the British embassy in Beirut said on Friday, a few hours after the British diplomat’s murderer was convicted of murder and rape.

“She was an impassioned advocate for those who most need support, a true friend of Lebanon, and an outstanding representative for the UK. She had an exciting, bright future ahead of her,” the embassy said in a statement.

“Becky was also a hugely popular member of the British Embassy in Beirut. Her energy, smile, determination, kindness, and positivity are fondly remembered by all,” it added.

“The British Embassy hopes that for those close to Becky, the Court’s decision will provide a degree of closure. While we welcome the guilty verdict, the UK government continues to oppose the death penalty in all circumstances,” the embassy went on to say.

“The Embassy is also grateful to the individuals, foundations, and organizations that have kept Becky’s memory alive and continue her good work,” it added.

“Becky was much loved and is deeply missed. The Embassy would like to take this moment to express its deep and continued sympathy with Becky’s colleagues, friends, and above all, her family,” it said.

UK rewards Lebanon Army

The UK  announced up to $25m in support to Lebanese Armed Forces for 2019-2022, the British Embassy in Lebanon said on Twitter on Friday.

It said the move is part of UK’s “ongoing support to the sole legitimate defender of Lebanon. The security forces are entrusted with keeping Lebanon safe – including securing the borders, stopping terrorism & protecting peaceful protests.”

In an earlier statement over the nationwide protests in Lebanon, the UK said it will continue to “support a secure, stable, sovereign and prosperous Lebanon, including a stronger and fairer economy, quality education for all, improved services, and enhanced security.”

AFP / Agencies

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