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French Version

Tueni reveals he tried to stop his son's return to Lebanon

'We are not dealing with amateurs'

Ghassan Tueni, the father of late journalist and MP Gebran Tueni, revealed in an interview that he had tried to convince his son not to return to Lebanon in their last conversation before Gebran's death.

In an interview with Al-Arabiyya Sunday, Tueni said he and Siham Tueni, Gebran's widow, had tried to dissuade Gebran from leaving France, but that the MP had told them: "I need to attend the Parliament session. I cannot be a legislator from France."

In his first televised interview since his son's assassination one week ago, Tueni described his son's killers as a highly organized "death machine" who he believed had been informed of Gebran's arrival in Beirut as they were "well prepared and had targeted him on his way" to work that morning.

The veteran journalist warned "we are not dealing with amateurs. Someone had informed the death machine [of Gebran's arrival]. I do not salute the assassins nor can I thank them, but I do praise this precision."

Tueni was interviewed by journalist Gisele Khoury, the widow of An-Nahar columnist Samir Kassir, who was also murdered in June.

He also divulged the details of his recent talks with Speaker Nabih Berri, who met with Gebran only days before his death upon the latter's request.

Quoting Berri, Tueni said Gebran had told the speaker: "You and I will not see eye to eye on matters of politics, but I am on the [hit] list and so are you. It's no big deal if they kill me. But if they murder you, the country will plunge into chaos."

Tueni also revealed he had spoken with Hizbullah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, who had called the veteran journalist to convey his condolences.

Tueni said he told Nasrallah they shared the same "state of mind and heart, which allows us to hear each other out," as the resistance leader has also lost a son by violent means.

According to Tueni, Nasrallah said that "had it not been for security considerations," he would have been with Tueni to give his condolences last week.

The media magnate admitted he was afraid for the future of An-Nahar, but stressed that the newspaper "will go on."

Looking to the future, Tueni called for an international investigation to look into the series of murders in Lebanon over the past 14 months, stressing the methods and targets of these murders pointed at "one source."

He also called for an international court to try the perpetrators as he believed there are no guarantees the Lebanese Judiciary "will not be affected by terrorism and political influences."

Tueni concluded the interview by telling the Lebanese and Syrian people that "the future of humankind cannot exist without liberty."

Tueni did however reveal that Gebran's daughter Nayla will be appointed to An-Nahar's administrative board.

Beirut 20-12-2005
The Daily Star

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