Tueni — passionate advocate of Lebanese independence
Teuni blamed Syria for Rafik Hariri's murder - a charge Damascus has repeatedly denied
Lebanese Christian MP and prominent newspaper editor Gibran Tueni who was killed in a car bomb attack on Monday was a vocal anti-Syrian figure.
The 48-year-old respected journalist was close to Saad Hariri, son of Lebanon's former Sunni Muslim prime minister Rafik Hariri who was assassinated in a 2005 Valentine Day's bomb in Beirut.
Many Lebanese like Tueni blamed Syria for the murder ? a charge Damascus has repeatedly denied ? and spearheaded calls for the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon. Amid domestic and international pressure, Damascus did pull out its troops from Lebanon in April, ending nearly three decades of political and military domination over its smaller neighbour.
Tueni comes from a long-list of prominent Lebanese politicians, many of whom had a close call with death in Lebanon's troubled political scene.
His uncle Marwan Hamade escaped an assassination attempt in October 2004 while his father Ghassan Tueni was a former Lebanese ambassador at the United Nations who also served in the government and in parliament.
In June, Tueni, a Greek Orthodox, won a seat in parliamentary elections ? the first since Syria quit Lebanon ? running on the list of Saad Hariri, which swept the polls.
A father of four, including twin daughters born just a few months ago, Tueni was at the forefront of the so-called "Cedar Revolution" that emerged following Hariri's murder and led to Syria's withdrawal.
Tueni was also a passionate advocate of the creation of an international tribunal over Hariri's killing in light of the international probe commissioned by the United Nations. He is widely seen as having set the tone in an editorial published in his An-Nahar mass-circulation newspaper as early as March 2000 that made the unprecedented blunt request for Syria to end its domination over Lebanon.
In more recent editorials over the past months Tueni has insisted on Lebanon's independence and strongly criticised Syrian policies, particularly towards Lebanon.
The blast that killed him took place one day after the head of the UN panel probing the killing of Hariri presented his findings to UN chief Kofi Annan.
Later on Monday, the UN Security Council was due to receive the sensitive report from German magistrate Detlev Mehlis on Syria's cooperation with the probe into the murder of Lebanese ex-premier Rafik Hariri. afp