Fadel Shaker, who was a crooner famed for such hits as “Ya Ghayeb” before he turned in his microphone to join Salafist Sheikh Ahmad Al Assir, is planning to turn himself in to Lebanese authorities over charges that he attacked the Lebanese Army during clashes in Sidon in 2013, according to his attorney .
The controversial singer, who has been on the run since 2013, appeared in a television interview earlier this week with Lebanon’s LBC TV, freshly shaved and claiming that he had broken all ties with the militant preacher Assir. He denied that he had taken part in the clashes, and told the station that his ties with Assir had already been strained before the clashes.
His new attorney, May al-Khansa, told The Daily Star that details of any surrender were still being worked out but said Shaker was ready to resolve the charges.
He did issue negative statements but no blood was spilled. He told me that he will be willing to assume responsibility for his statements when politicians and other notable figures who have taken similar stances are prosecuted for their crime.
After the 2013 clashes, in which 20 soldiers and 28 gunmen were killed, Shaker appeared in a video claiming he had killed two soldiers. He, along with 56 others including the fugitive Assir, is facing the death penalty over charges of terrorism and attacking the Army. Assir and Shaker had engaged in an increasing tense standoff with Hezbollah over allegations that the resistance party was occupying apartments next to Assir's complex in Sidon.
Interestingly enough, Shaker's new attorney says that she is affiliated with Hezbollah, though she denied that Shaker had chosen her in any attempt to distance himself further from his previous radical Sunni statements.
This attempted rehabilitation of his image is causing waves in Lebanon, though after his previous dramatic transformation, it’s hard to imagine being surprised by anything the former pop star does.
While there has never been a shortage of Lebanese entertainers wading into political controversies, Shaker’s alleged involvement in actual fighting makes it hard to imagine any return to the stage – though that’s not stopping some fans from holding out hope.