BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) _ Two men will face retrial beginning March 15 in the kidnapping and slaying of the U.S. ambassador in Beirut in 1976.

The Appeals Court ordered the convictions of Bassem Mohammed Farkh and Nameq Ahmed Kamal annulled last week, and published the decision in newspapers Tuesday.

The men were convicted in absentia in May, but are now in custody. Under Lebanese law, they are entitled to new trials if they dispute a verdict reached in absentia.

Farkh, Kamal and a third man were convicted in absentia and sentenced to life imprisonment for the kidnapping and murder of Ambassador Francis E. Meloy, his economic counselor, Robert O. Waring, and their Lebanese driver, Mohammed Moghrabi.

The ambassador, his aide and their driver disappeared in Beirut in June 1976. Their bodies were found several days later.

After the May 5 sentencing, Lebanese officials discovered that Farkh was already in prison for drug smuggling. Kamal has since surrendered. The third man remains at large.

Farkh has denied involvement in Meloy's slaying, although he was present at the kidnapping. Kamal also has denied involvement in the murders.