Lebanon issues death sentences in 1982 killing of president

Lebanese judicial officials say a court has sentenced in absentia two Lebanese citizens in to death over the 1982 assassination of President-elect Bashir Gemayel.

More than three decades after Gemayel was killed in Beirut, the case still sharply divides Lebanese some of whom see him as a national hero while others say he was an Israeli agent.

The officials say Habib Tanious Shartouni and Nabil Farah al-Alam, both members of the pro-Syrian Syrian Social Nationalist Party, were sentenced to death.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

A powerful bomb explosion killed Gemayel and 23 supporters at the right-wing Christian Phalange Party headquarters in the east Beirut area of Ashrafiyeh on Sept. 14, 1982, barely two weeks before Gemayel was due to take office.