Amer Fakhoury, 57, a former South Lebanon Army official who allegedly served as a senior warden at the notorious Khiam detention center during the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon in 1980s and 1990s and who fled to the US after Israel pulled out of south Lebanon passed away on Monday at his residence in the United States following a battle with cancer, Lebanese media reports said.
Fakhoury went into exile more than two decades ago before returning to Lebanon in September 2019, when he was arrested and jailed for several months in Lebanon,
He was accused of being the “Butcher of Khiam” during the civil war.
His release in March and his eventual travel to the U.S. in mysterious circumstances had sparked controversy in Lebanon.
U.S. President Donald Trump hailed Fakhoury’s return to the United States, saying he was suffering from late-stage cancer.
David Schenker, the top U.S. diplomat for the Middle East, disputed accounts of Fakhoury’s involvement in the Khiam prison , saying his name did not come up in previous prosecutions of SLA members and charging that Hezbollah wanted to use the U.S. citizen’s detention as a bargaining chip.
It was discovered later that his release was linked to the eventual release of convicted Hezbollah financier Kassim Tajideen three years into his five-year sentence due to his poor health and risks of COVID-19 infection from prison, according to court documents.