No other political trial in Lebanon and, indeed, the Arab World has
been more controversial than the trial and execution of Antun
Sa'adeh just before sunrise on July 8, 1949. The case is
inescapably a tragedy. It was and still is the shortest and most
secretive trial given to a political offender. Indicted for treason
and for creating dissension, Antun Sa'adeh was tried on trumped-up
charges based on falsified evidence and deliberate misapplication
of the law. It was really nothing more than an open-and-shut
exercise in accusation and punishment - a trial more appropriate to
the cruel days of the Middle Ages than the supposedly civilized
world of the 20th century. Since the trial was held, many complex
issues have been raised, many more crucial than the actual fate of
the accused: Why the secrecy and haste? Was it a fair trial? Was
the offence political and, if so, why did the Lebanese State refuse
to treat it as such? What did the Khoury regime hope to achieve
from the trial? Did the penalty fit the crime? This book answers
these and many more questions that until now have received cursory
treatment as part of a general history rather than the thorough
analysis they deserve.
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