A judge in New Hampshire denied the Fakhoury family’s attempt to sue the Lebanese state on the basis of allegations that the country’s security agency kidnapped and tortured their father, Amer Fakhoury, shortly before his death.
Fakhoury is survived by his three daughters and wife, who claim that their father was in good health before his “unlawful” detainment in Lebanon in 2019. He was released in 2020 and returned to the United States at age 57, where he then died of stage 4 lymphoma.
The family’s lawsuit was initially filed in Washington last year against Iran, in which they alleged that he developed the illness in addition to other serious medical issues during his imprisonment over decades-old murder and torture charges.
Most, recently the family attempted to broaden the lawsuit so that Lebanon is also targeted. However, the request was denied by US District Judge John Bates on Monday.
The Fakhoury’s lawsuit contends that it is possible to sue Iran under an exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, as Iran was designated as a “state sponsor of terrorism” in 1984. Similarly, the suit describes Hezbollah as an “instrument” of Iran, with the aim of extending the case to Lebanon.
The Lebanese security agency, on the other hand, claims that the lawsuit falsely accuses it and its director of “serious crimes of kidnapping, torture, and killing at the direction or aid of alleged terrorist organizations.”
Fakhoury had returned to Lebanon for the first time in almost 20 years, shortly after becoming a U.S. citizen. According to his family, his passport was seized and he was detained just a week into his stay.
He was held for five months before being formally charged, though his charges were dropped and he was released in March of 2020, just five months before his eventual death.
Fakhoury was arrested for his alleged former activity as a member and prison clerk of the South Lebanon Army. The day prior to his arrest, a Hezbollah-affiliated magazine published an article dubbing him the “butcher” of the Khiam Detention Center, which was infamous for its routine human rights abuses.