Lawyer calls to boycott polls to spur Geagea’s release

By Maroun Khoury , Daily Star , May 21, 2005

BKIRKI: The attorney representing disbanded Lebanese Forces (LF) leader Samir Geagea said the only way to ensure the release of his client from prison before the May-June parliamentary elections is for LF candidates to boycott the elections unless Geagea is released.

Following a meeting with Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Butros Sfeir, attorney Assad Abi Raad said: “The LF asks its partners in the Qornet Shehwan Gathering, as well as General Michel Aoun, to follow in its footsteps; this way the elections will not be held without the participation of the LF, the gathering and the Free Patriotic Movement.”

He added: “It is the last chance; do not miss it because if Geagea is not freed before the elections, then when?”

Western Bekaa-Rashaya MP Faisal Daoud, who also met with Sfeir, denounced the 2000 electoral law as contributing to the squandering of $40 billion of public funds and violations of the legal system to serve personal interests.

Daoud said the 2000 electoral law allowed warlords and sectarian leaders to steal large amounts of money in the name of the law.

 He added: “This is why this law is unfair and does not voice the people’s opinion.”

Former Minister Wadih Khazen said Sfeir maintained his opposition to the contested election law and once more expressed his concern about the election’s outcome.

Khazen stressed the importance of national unity in the current delicate circumstances.

Former MP Camille Ziade said he had informed the patriarch of the possibility of creating united opposition electoral lists, adding that the lists represent the policy of reform and change the people demanded on March 14.

Commenting on the meeting of the Qornet Shehwan Gathering Thursday, Ziade indicated the gathering’s efforts aim to define the position of the opposition members in a way that echoes the policy voters want.