Lebanon prosecutor wants hard-line cleric executed


FILE - In this March 4, 2011, file photo, Sheikh Ahmad al-Assir, a Lebanese anti-Syrian regime leader, addresses his supporters during a demonstration against Syrian President Bashar Assad, where a number of the Syrian Baath Party supporters were also protesting, at the Martyrs square in downtown of Beirut, Lebanon. A Lebanese military prosecutor has charged a hard-line Sunni cleric with being involved in a deadly shootout with government troops and killing of soldiers, demanding he face the death penalty. Lebanon's state news agency reported Friday, Feb. 28, 2014 that military prosecutor Riad Abu Ghaida also charged 56 supporters of cleric Sheik Ahmad al-Assir with committing crimes against the military. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla,File) | Zoom

BEIRUT (AP) - A Lebanese military prosecutor has charged a hard-line Sunni cleric with being involved in a deadly shootout with government troops and killing of soldiers, demanding he face the death penalty.

Lebanon's state news agency reported Friday that military prosecutor Riad Abu Ghaida also charged 56 supporters of cleric Sheik Ahmad al-Assir with committing crimes against the military.

Ghaida demanded capital punishment for them as well. They include former popular singer-turned-extremist Fadel Shaker.

Eighteen Lebanese soldiers were killed in clashes between al-Assir's armed supporters and the army in June. The shootout in the coastal city of Sidon deepened sectarian tensions between Sunni and Shiite Muslims, who support opposing sides in the civil war in neighboring Syria.

At least three recent suicide bombers in Lebanon were al-Assir's followers.


(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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