Wednesday, February 21

Death penalty for diplomat’s murder



An Uber driver has been sentenced to death for murdering a British diplomat.

Tarek Houshieh confessed to the “senseless” attack on Rebecca Dykes, whose body was found dumped by the side of a highway on December 16 2017.

Houshieh raped the 30-year-old before strangling her and dumping her body. Lebanese judges routinely call for death sentences in cases of murder.

But the country has an unofficial moratorium and has not carried out an execution since 2004, according to the monitoring group Human Rights Watch.

It is believed Dykes had been at a colleague’s leaving party in the Gemmayzeh district of Beirut on the night before she was found dead.

Houshieh, a Lebanese national, had allegedly picked up Dykes from Gemmayzeh after she requested an Uber ride.

The indictment alleged that instead of driving her home, he raped and then choked her to death before driving to the highway to get rid of her body, and later disposed of her purse and identity papers.

Dykes had worked as a programme and policy manager with the Department for International Development and as a policy manager with the Libya team at the Foreign Office, according to her LinkedIn page.

Lebanese police had identified the suspect after tracking his car on CCTV cameras and tracing his mobile phone activities.