U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen said Thursday that Lebanese authorities released an American citizen who had been detained there since September on murder and torture charges.
Shaheen had been working with U.S. administration officials for months to secure the release of Amer Fakhoury, who remained in custody after being diagnosed with Stage IV Lymphoma.
“Any time a U.S. citizen is wrongfully detained by a foreign government, we must use every tool at our disposal to free them,” the Democratic lawmaker said in a statement.
U.S. President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House that “We’ve been working very hard to get him freed and he’s finally able to have his entire family at his side. So I’m very grateful to the Lebanese government. They worked with us.”
Lebanese officials maintain that Fakhoury was responsible for the murders and torture of prisoners in Lebanon two decades ago while he was allegedly working for an Israeli-backed militia.
Fakhoury was released because it had been more than 10 years since he allegedly committed crimes for which he was charged while imprisoned.
Fakhoury’s case further strained U.S.-Lebanese relations. U.S. lawmakers threatened to withhold aid to Lebanon and place sanctions on the Lebanese military, which the U.S. views as a safeguard against the Iranian-backed Hezbollah movement.
The 57-year-old Fakhoury is a resident of the northeastern state of New Hampshire, which Shaheen represents.