Gebran Tueni

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Tueni, Al-Nahar columnist and managing director, was killed by a car bomb in East Beirut. Tueni, 48, who also served as a member of parliament, was a fierce critic of the Syrian government and its policies in Lebanon.

A parked car exploded as Tueni’s armored vehicle drove past. The blast killed three other people and injured 32. Tueni was killed the day after he returned from Paris, where he had spent considerable time because of safety concerns. The Lebanese opposition blamed the attacks on Syria, which denied them.

The bombing came on the day that the United Nations Security Council received a report on a U.N. investigation into the February 14, 2005, assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri.

Since al-Hariri’s murder and the launch of the U.N. inquiry, prominent Al-Nahar columnist Samir Qassir was killed in one car bombing and Lebanese Broadcasting Corp. talk show host May Chidiac was seriously wounded in another.

Tueni was a prominent opposition politician and was active in protests following al-Hariri’s assassination. Those protests helped prompt Syria to withdraw from Lebanon.

Tueni was well-known for his Al-Nahar columns. He helped break an important press taboo in 2000 when he wrote a front-page letter to Bashar al-Assad, son and heir apparent to Syrian president Hafez al-Assad. The letter called for the redeployment and withdrawal of Syrian troops in Lebanon under the 1990 Taif Accords that ended Lebanon’s civil war. Although Tueni’s letter triggered a public outcry from some newspapers and Lebanese officials, other writers followed his lead.