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Dover man imprisoned in Lebanon released, Shaheen says


A Dover man who was imprisoned in Lebanon and facing charges of torturing inmates dating back decades has been released, U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., said Thursday.

Shaheen said Amer Fakhoury has been released and is on his way back to the United States. He had been held in Lebanon since September.

"Any time a U.S. citizen is wrongfully detained by a foreign government, we must use every tool at our disposal to free them," said Shaheen, a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "I'm very glad that Amer is finally coming home and will be reunited with his family."

Shaheen said Fakhoury has been sick and needs medical attention. He was diagnosed with stage 4 lymphoma while in prison.

"It's hard to put into words how grateful and relieved we are to finally be returning to the United States with Amer," his family said in a written statement. "We have been through a nightmare that we would never wish on anyone. From the bottom of our hearts, we want to thank everyone who believed in Amer's innocence and fought tirelessly to bring him home to the country he loves."

The family thanked Shaheen for her efforts, saying Fakhoury "considers Sen. Shaheen his hero."

Fakhoury is accused of torturing inmates while working at a prison run by an Israeli-backed militia in the 1980s and 1990s. Shaheen called the charges unsubstantiated and, along with U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, introduced the Zero Tolerance for Unlawful Detentions of U.S. Citizens in Lebanon Act, which would impose sanctions against Lebanese officials who are involved in the unlawful detainment, arrest or abuse of any U.S. citizen in Lebanon.

A military tribunal ordered that Fakhoury be released Tuesday, but a military judge appealed the ruling following an outcry in Lebanon.