February 8, 2018 / 5:01 PM / 14 days ago

Lebanon to put taxi driver on trial in murder of British woman

BEIRUT (Reuters) - A Lebanese judge has ordered the trial of a man suspected of the December murder of Rebecca Dykes, a British woman who worked at the British embassy in Beirut, court documents showed on Thursday.

Hanna Braidi, investigative judge for the Mount Lebanon district where the crime occurred, released a charge sheet for Tariq Houshieh, an Uber driver accused of raping and killing Dykes in the early hours of Dec. 16.

A photo of the British embassy worker, Rebecca Dykes, is seen during a candlelight sit-in organised by activists in Beirut, Lebanon December 23, 2017. REUTERS/Isam Abdallah

The charge sheet said Houshieh had confessed to raping and strangling Dykes, who was 30 and worked at the embassy for Britain’s Department for International Development.

Braidi called for Houshieh to face the death penalty. Lebanese investigative judges routinely call for death sentences in cases of murder, but the country has an unofficial moratorium and has not carried one out since 2004, according to the monitoring group Human Rights Watch.

A memorial service for Dykes was held in Beirut on Wednesday. Britain will award a scholarship under Dykes’ name each year to a Lebanese or Palestinian woman for a masters degree in Britain, the British embassy said.

Her family has set up a charitable foundation to help refugees, with a particular focus on preventing violence against women.

Reporting by Dahlia Nehme and Angus McDowall; editing by Andrew Roche

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