Samir Qassir

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APColumnist 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.

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