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Legal expert: Lebanon lacks law and order

May 20, 2010 at 9:30 PM   |   Comments

KETERMAYA, Lebanon, May 20 (UPI) -- A mob attack and lynching of a Lebanese man suspected of multiple murders has prompted some Lebanese people to say their nation lacks law and order.

Mohammed Muslem, 38, of Egypt, allegedly killed the father, mother and two daughters, ages 9 and 7, of his neighbor, Rana Abu Merhi, of Ketermaya, at the end of April, BBC News reported Thursday.

Police captured Muslem and put him in a car the day after charges were filed, intending to take him to the scene to re-enact the crime. Angry mobs grabbed Muslem, and although police were able to recover him, the mobs snatched him back, killed him and hung him in the center of the village, the BBC said.

"The police seem to have acted like a judge. Violation of the presumption of innocence is a continuous problem in Lebanon, but this is just one side of the Ketermaya incident," said Omar Nashabe, the law editor of the Lebanese newspaper al-Akhbar and an expert in criminal justice.

Many in Lebanon said they want the government to account for the decision to take Muslem to the scene and for why the police failed to protect him, the BBC said.

Several people who allegedly participated in Muslem's lynching have been arrested, which is a sign the government is taking the matter seriously, said Justice Minister Ibrahim Najarr.

"Justice in Lebanon exists. We have judges, we have tribunals, we have credibility," Najjar said.

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