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U.S. Slams Release of Suspects in Ambassador’s Slaying

March 18, 1996

BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) _ The U.S. Embassy said today it was deeply disappointed by the release of two men convicted of kidnapping and killing two American diplomats and their driver at the height of Lebanon’s civil war.

Bassem Farkh, 39, and Namek Kamal, 46, were freed Wednesday after a three-judge panel ruled the 1976 slayings of U.S. Ambassador Francis E. Meloy, his economic counselor, Robert O. Waring, and their Lebanese driver were covered under an 1990 amnesty law for political crimes.

``The U.S. Embassy received with astonishment and profound disappointment the verdict handed down by the court,″ an embassy statement said. ``The verdict does not serve the interests of justice and the interests of the Lebanese people.″

Meloy, Waring and the driver, Mohammed Moghrabi, disappeared in June 1976 at a militia checkpoint as they crossed the Green Line that separated Beirut’s Christian and Muslim sectors. Their bodies were found several days later.

In 1994, Farkh and Kamal were convicted and sentenced to death by a lower court. They appealed.

The U.S. Embassy said it hoped for a different decision from the appeals court.

``We hoped that it would show that the rule of law returned to Lebanon, to demonstrate that Lebanon is no more a place where terrorists take refuge without fear of punishment,″ the statement said.

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