Lebanese Composer Goes Missing, Believed to Be Detained in Saudi Arabia

Well-known musician Samir Sfeir has sung about Lebanese President Michel Aoun and is close to his ruling party

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President Michel Aoun meets with Lebanese composer Samir Sfeir at the presidential palace in Baabda, in 2018.
President Michel Aoun meets with Lebanese composer Samir Sfeir at the presidential palace in Baabda, in 2018.Credit: Dalati Nohra/Handout via Reuters

A Lebanese music composer close to the president's party is believed to be detained in Saudi Arabia for unknown reasons, according to local media reports confirmed by two sources close to him and a security source.

An official source said Lebanon's foreign ministry had tried to ask Saudi authorities about the whereabouts of Samir Sfeir, a well-known musician who has sung about President Michel Aoun.

The Lebanese foreign ministry declined to comment. Saudi Arabia's government media office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

An MP from Aoun's political party, Salim Aoun, had tweeted asking: "Where is Samir Sfeir?" with a hashtag calling for his "freedom".

Local media said on Tuesday that the musician was believed to be detained in Saudi Arabia, where he has residence.

Sfeir faced a backlash among Saudis on social media earlier this year when he shared a photo of himself getting a COVID-19 shot in Saudi Arabia. The post angered some who accused him of benefiting from the kingdom's services despite his past comments alluding to Saudi Arabia exporting terrorism, which the kingdom denies.

This comes amid rising tensions between the two countries, since Saudi Arabia announced last week a ban on imports of fruits and vegetables from Lebanon, blaming an increase in drug smuggling, in a measure that will add to Lebanon's economic woes.

The country is already in the throes of a deep financial crisis that is posing the biggest threat to its stability since the 1975-1990 civil war.

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