Samir Geagea, the Christian former civil war leader, was released from prison on 26 July. Geagea, the only Lebanese civil war leader to be convicted of war crimes, had served 11 years of a life sentence in solitary confinement in a Defence Ministry cell.

‘You’ve been freed from a big prison, and that’s what enabled me to be released from this small prison,’ he said in a speech to supporters at Beirut airport, alluding to the end of Syrian occupation.

Geagea’s release met strong opposition in some quarters, and in Tehran protests were held demanding he be tried for the 1982 kidnapping of four Iranian nationals. Geagea was convicted in 1994 for crimes including his alleged involvement in the 1987 assassination of prime minister Rachid Karameh. His Lebanese Forces party was outlawed after 11 people died in a church bombing.

After a period of recuperation in Europe, Geagea is expected to return to politics.