Dover Restaurant Owner Held In Lebanon For Months Is Released
A Dover resident detained in Lebanon for more than six months is expected back safely in the United States late Thursday evening.
Amer Fakhoury, 56, was arrested last September after returning to his native Beirut for the first time in nearly two decades. Lebanese officials alleged that while Fakhoury served in the South Lebanon Army in the 1990s, he participated in the torture and killing of prisoners inside the Khiam prison.
U.S. officials, including Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, have been pressuring the Lebanese government to release Fakhoury, denying he was involved in alleged war crimes.
“We looked into the background very thoroughly,” said Shaheen Thursday during a call with reporters. “There is no and was no evidence to substantiate the charges against Amer Fakhoury.”
Earlier this year, Shaheen introduced a sanctions bill to put additional pressure on Lebanon’s government to release Fakhoury.
“No one, one family, should have to go through what the Fakhoury family has gone through,” said Shaheen. “Amer Fakhoury is an American citizen, he’s a Granite Stater, he’s a father, a husband, a community member.”
Shaheen said she spoke with Fakhoury as he boarded a plane, and that he was in good spirits.
While in detention in Lebanon, Fakhoury was diagnosed with Lymphoma, and is considered in critical health.
“It’s hard to put into words how grateful and relieved we are to finally be returning to the United States with Amer,” said Fakhoury’s family in a statement. “We have been through a nightmare that we would never wish on anyone. From the bottom of our hearts, we want to thank everyone who believed in Amer’s innocence and fought tirelessly to bring him home to the country he loves.”
Before his detention, he and his family operated the Little Lebanon To Go restaurant in Dover.