Lebanon: PEN International mourns the loss of prominent writer and publisher Lokman Slim

Lebanon: PEN International mourns the loss of prominent writer and publisher Lokman Slim … His heinous assassination is a horrific blow to freedom of expression in Lebanon

PEN International strongly condemns the horrifying news of the targeted killing of prominent writer, publisher, activist and intellectual, Lokman Slim. His assassination in south Lebanon is a cowardly and inadmissible use of violence and intimidation to supress freedom of expression and silence independent voices.

On Thursday, Slim’s family reported they had lost contact with him while he was travelling back to Beirut from visiting a friend in southern Lebanon. Later, the Lebanese authorities announced that he was found dead in his car. According to the National News Agency, his body was riddled with bullets, four to the head and one in the back. He received many threats over his criticism of the Hezbollah militia and its role in Lebanese politics. In 2019, he issued a statement declaring that he had received many threats, holding the leader of Hezbollah, and the head of the Amal Movement, responsible for what happens to him or his family.

Responding to the grim news of his assassination, Iman Humaydan, President of PEN Lebanon said:

“'We have lost a very important intellectual, writer, researcher, publisher and activist. A person who loved his country and worked for democracy and freedom of expression. In his work and writings, Slim condemned violence and aggressions under any pretext. He conducted a series of serious research on civil society, on prisoners of freedom of expression in the Arab world, and documented the civil war in Lebanon, as well as in Syria and Iraq. Killing him is killing freedom of expression that is at stake in my country Lebanon. Lokman Slim was a man of peace, of conviction, and of courage. ''

Loqman Slim was the co-founder of Umam for Documentation and Research (UMAM D&R) organisation, which is known for its work on documenting Lebanese history in an endeavour to move Lebanon out of the endless cycle of violence and instability towards the establishment of lasting and enduring peace. One of UMAM D&R remarkable productions was the 2005 Massaker documentary in which they documented the testimonies of six former Christian Phalange militiamen recounting events of the 1982 Sabra and Shatilla massacre. He also co-founded a leading publishing house, Dar al-Jadid, which published books for many prominent writers across the Middle East and North Africa. .

PEN International calls on the Lebanese authorities to swiftly bring his killers to justice and end this cycle of impunity over targeted killings of activists and public figures. PEN calls for an independent, impartial and transparent investigation into the murder.

For further information please contact Mina Thabet, MENA Programme Coordinator, PEN International, Unit A, Koops Mill, 162-164 Abbey Street, London, SE1 2AN, Tel.+ 44 (0) 20 7405 0338, email: Mina.thabet@pen-international.org