Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 19 November 2019

Rebecca Dykes: Lebanon court hands death penalty to killer of UK diplomat

Her family and the UK government welcomed the conviction

A Lebanese court on sentenced a taxi driver to death for the 2017 murder of British embassy worker Rebecca Dykes. AFP
A Lebanese court on sentenced a taxi driver to death for the 2017 murder of British embassy worker Rebecca Dykes. AFP

A Mount Lebanon criminal court on Friday handed down a death sentence to Tarek Houshieh for the murder of UK Diplomat Rebecca Dykes in Beirut in 2017.

Dykes was abducted by Houshieh, her Uber driver, after a night out in central Beirut and her body was found in a secluded area on the edge of the capital on December 16, 2017. Police later detained Houshieh, who confessed to raping and murdering Dykes.

After the verdict, her mother, Jane Houng, said “Becky was a humanitarian worker loved by many. I await the day Mr Houshieh seeks forgiveness from all the people he has hurt.”

While the death penalty still stands in Lebanon, the country has not carried out the sentence since 2004 and it usually translates to life in prison with hard labour.

The UK government welcomed Friday’s sentence but restated their opposition to the death penalty.

The UK Embassy in Beirut thanked Lebanese authorities for the “utmost professionalism and compassion” with which they handled the case and said they hope that the conviction and sentencing would “provide a degree of closure” to Dykes’ friends and colleagues.

The embassy, where she worked with the UK Department of International Development, described her as “a talented, devoted humanitarian whose skill, expertise and passion improved the lives of many people.”

“Becky was also a hugely popular member of the British Embassy in Beirut. Her energy, smile, determination, kindness, and positivity are fondly remembered by all.”

After her death, her family and friends established the Rebecca Dykes Foundation that works on improving the lives of refugees and vulnerable communities in Lebanon as well as working on gender equality.

In 2018, the British embassy established the Rebecca Dykes Chevening Scholarship to provide scholarships to Lebanese and Palestinian women living in Lebanon to study at a UK university.

Updated: November 3, 2019 10:07 AM

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