Supporters and relatives of Ali Fayad , a Lebanese man who was arrested in Prague, the Czech Republic two years ago and handed over last week to Lebanese authorities protested Monday outside the Beirut Justice Palace and called for his release
Lebanese authorities detained Ali Fayad last week 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 General Prosecutor Judge Samir 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 last week 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 drag cartels in Columbia and Venezuel
Czech Court spokeswoman Marketa Puci said that Fayad and Khaled Merebi, were released from detention following the minister’s decision. The minister still has yet to decide on Faouzi Jaber the other dual Lebanese national who holds the Ivory Coast nationality.
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 this week Fayad who also hold the Ukranian nationality had also acted as an adviser to the Ukrainian defence minister, and that there was a demand he be freed in return for the release of the Czechs.