A prominent Lebanese publisher and vocal critic of the Shiite Hezbollah terror group was found dead in his car Thursday morning, shot multiple times at close range, security and forensic officials said.
Lokman Slim, a 58-year-old longtime Shiite political activist and researcher, was found in his car on a rural road near the southern village of Addoussieh.
A forensic coroner on the scene said Slim was shot in his chest, head and neck, killing him on the spot. Blood was splattered over the passenger seat of a rental car, where his body had apparently fallen.
A security official at the scene said Slim’s ID, phone and gun were missing. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations
A journalist, political analyst and activist known as one of the leading Shiite voices criticizing Hezbollah, Slim was regularly attacked in media loyal to the powerful group.
Slim, who was returning to Beirut from a visit to the south, had been missing for hours, security officials and his family said. A resident of Addoussieh said the car was found on the rural road before midnight. He declined to provide his name.
Slim’s wife Monika Borgmann and sister Rasha al-Ameer had earlier posted on social media that Slim had not answered his phone for hours and hadn’t been seen since Wednesday evening.
Al-Ameer said she learned of Slim’s death from news reports as she was filing a missing person’s form.
The circumstances of Slim’s death were not clear and a security official in Beirut said an investigation is underway to determine what happened.
“He had a political stance, why else would he have been kidnapped,” Rasha al-Ameer told AFP.
Interior Minister Mohammad Fahmi, speaking to local TV station MTV, called it a “horrific crime.”
Slim and his wife lived in the southern suburbs of Beirut, where they ran Umam Research and Productions, a research center and film production house. His family owns a publishing house and Slim hosted public debates and political forums and art shows.
“It is a big tragedy,” said Makram Rabah, a close friend and history lecturer. “Anyone who knows Lokman they know who his enemies are.”
Rabah said he and Slim were strong opponents of Hezbollah’s grip on power and called for sovereignty and diversity in Lebanon. They were both attacked by a group of young men during a public debate at the height of anti-government protests in 2019. Slim at the time accused Hezbollah supporters of being behind the attack.
Slim was often criticized by Hezbollah supporters for being instrumentalized by the United States.
The activist also accused Hezbollah supporters of threatening him at his home, holding rallies and hanging posters on its walls accusing him of treason.
The secular intellectual and pro-democracy activist had also made several documentary films with his wife Borgmann.