A 71-year-old Lebanese man who was arrested in July for coming into the United States more than 20 years ago using someone else’s passport indirectly and unintentionally admitted his involvement in the torture and ultimate murder of two Irish soldiers. The man, Mahmoud Bazzi, who has been living in Dearborn, Michigan and working as an ice cream salesman, had initially denied any wrongdoing but eventually agreed to be deported. The illegal immigrant became a suspect in the deaths of the soldiers which occurred in 1980 as well as in the shooting of another soldier which occurred in his home country of Lebanon. The man has stated that he is innocent of any wrongdoing and says that he was made to confess to the crimes by military officials in Lebanon.
During his trial, Bazzi declared his love for the United States and told the immigration judge that he would be going home to Lebanon with an American Flag among his belongings. His attorney has stated that the deportation agreement that his client has with the US government dictates that he is not allowed to make any stop overs anywhere in Europe during his flight back to Lebanon. He is expected to leave the United States sometime in the next month or so.
Officials with the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) office in Detroit stated that they are privy to the allegations levied against Bazzi regarding the shootings but they say no formal charges have been filed against him. It has not been made clear either by officials in the United States nor by those in Lebanon whether he will face charges in his home country. Bazzi’s daughters, however, stated that they are confident that he will not be charged or tried for any war crimes. One of his daughters, 26-year-old Malak Bazzi, stated that Mahmoud had been living in Lebanon for at least a decade after the Irish soldiers had been tortured and killed and had not faced any prosecution. As a result, she believes that he is in fact innocent of the crimes despite the fact that US officials have stated that he indirectly admitted his involvement in them.
The incident in question took place during a civil war that was going on in Lebanon during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Ireland had been part of a peacekeeping mission led by the United Nations in that country aimed at bringing the conflict to a peaceful end. The three Irish soldiers had been part of the peacekeeping efforts and Bazzi is accused of having been part of their capture, torture, and killing of the two and the wounding of the third. The third soldier, John O’Mahoney, stated in July of this year that Bazzi was part of a group of armed Lebanese men who ambushed their convoy during the conflict in 1980 and said that it was Bazzi who shot him.
If you or someone you know is in need of legal counsel regarding an immigration issue, please contact the immigration attorney at Lyttle Law Firm in Austin, Texas or call their offices at 512-215-5225.