Columnist Samir Qassir was killed in a car bombing outside his home in
Beirut’s Ashrafiyeh neighborhood. Qassir, well-known throughout the
region for supporting democratic reform, died when a bomb exploded
under the driver’s seat of his Alfa Romeo. Qassir’s murder prompted
mass demonstrations in Beirut.
In his popular newspaper
column, Qassir vigorously criticized the Syrian government, its
Lebanese allies, and Syria’s 29-year military and political presence in
Lebanon. He was threatened and harassed for his outspoken writing.
In 2001, Lebanese security agents confiscated Qassir’s passport in
response to his editorials criticizing the Lebanese army and security
services. His passport was eventually returned, but authorities said
they were investigating the legality of his Lebanese citizenship.