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Lebanon patriarch raiMaronite Patriarch Beshara Rai called on the powerful  Shiite Jaafar clan to hand over the killers of the christian couple in the Beqaa town of Btedaai, west of Baalbek.

Sobhi Fakhri and his wife Nadimeh were killed in November when members of the  Jaafar clan shot the couple in their Btedaai residence after they refused to hand over keys to their SUV.

After offering condolences to the Fakhri family in Btedaai on Sunday Patriarch al-Rai said :
“We express our full solidarity with you and with all the residents of Btedaai, Deir al-Ahmar and the entire region.”

“The crime was committed in cold blood in the early morning hours and it was an attack against the entire region, which requires us to call on the state to fulfill justice.” He said and added:

“We tell the Jaafar family that they have the duty of respecting justice and facilitating the handing over of the culprits. We are not demanding this due to malice or hatred.”

“Our central demand is justice,” Rai said, urging the government to “search for the criminals, wherever they may be.”

Rai added:
“It is not vengeance that has pushed us to demand the handing over of the perpetrators, but we believe that only justice can provide life for everyone. There is no justice without peace and peace can only be reached through justice.”

Rai continued:
“There can be no forgiveness and reconciliation without justice, as justice is what leads to forgiveness, or else we cannot live in peace. I salute all the mediators who are working with good intentions in order to hand over the killers and fulfill justice.”

Mourners carry the coffin of Sobhi Fakhri during his funeral in Btedaai, Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014.
Mourners carry the coffin of Sobhi Fakhri during his funeral in Btedaai, Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014.

Rai accused politicians of providing political cover to criminals:
“We tell every official and every politician who is providing political cover to criminals that this issue is rejected. No one is bigger than divine justice and the guilt of those covering up the crime is bigger. They would be killing Sobhi and Nadimeh Fakhri twice.”

Rai concluded his speech by saying:
“We respect the state but this region cannot live in peace if it does not want to bring all criminals to justice. One does not know anymore when they will be attacked by others and when their cars will be stolen. We don’t want the “law of the jungle” to reign.”

The murdered couple’s son, Romeo, remains in hospital recovering from gunshot wounds he suffered during the shooting.

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