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HARIRI’S ASSASSINATION – SPECIAL TRIBUNAL LEBANON [STL]

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The former Lebanese PM Rafik Hariri, an ally to USA with strong ties in Saudi Arbia and a strong opposition to Syria and Hizbullah in Lebanon, was assassinated in a huge car bomb in the center of Lebanon’s capital Beirut, on 02/14/2005. !4 innocent by passers were killed too and all together 23 people were killed, including 8 of Rafik Hariri’s bodyguards and aids. The car bomb contained over 350 KG of high explosive and was detonated by remote control.

Rafik Hariri’s convoy was protected by sophisticated electronic devices and it was obvious that unusual technological efforts were invested in the successful attempt and ongoing surveillance on Rafik Hariri’s movements and behavior was carried out.

Following international pressure from USA, France and Saudi Arabia, the Lebanese government, backed by those countries, filed, on 13/12/2005, an official request to the UN Security Council to form an international tribunal to probe Rafik Hariri’s assassination. Security Council resolution 1757 of 05/30/ 2007 finalized the framework and the jurisdiction of the Special Tribunal Lebanon – STL. STL is based in Leidschendam-Voorburg ner Te Hague in Holland (see – Hague 03.01.09). The tribunal is headed by the Belgian Prosecutor General Daniel Bellemare.

By analyzing all electronic signals, including cell phones, gathered by French and USA intelligence, the investigators of STL initially implicated high-level Lebanese and Syrian security officers in Rafik Hariri’s killing. Damascus denied any involvement. Four pro-Syrian Lebanese generals were detained for four years without charges in connection with Hariri’s killing. They were released in 2009 after the STL said there was not enough evidence to indict them. But STL was following further leads, which indicated that it was the Hizbullah in Lebanon which carried out the assassination. The organization used or manipulated contacts in the Lebanese and Syrian security and intelligence establishment to monitor Rafik Hariri’s movements and routine and to find out about his security measures (see -Wissam al-Hassan ).

In 03/2010, STL issued its first annual report on the operation and activities of the tribunal, which point a finger to Hizbullah as being behind the assassination.  The STL is scheduled to release its first round of indictments in 03/2011. There is no way that such an operation was not authorized by the highest level in Iran. 

Hizbullah responded, on 08/19/2010, in a speech of the Secretary General of Hizbullah Hassan Naserallah, blaming the Israeli Mossad for the assassination of Rafik Hariri and threatened to take control of the Lebanese regime if Lebanon, now led by Rafik Hariri’s son Saad Hariri, will not pull back its official request to form the tribunal and to drop STL jurisdiction.  

The Wall Street Journal reported, on Monday 11/08/2010, that the STL is moving to indict between two and six members of the militant group Hizbullah by year’s-end, according to people briefed on the tribunal’s work. Among those being looked at in the UN probe, according to the people briefed on it, is Mustafa Badr al-Din, his deceased brother-in-law Imad Mughniyah, Wafiq Safa, the head of the Hizbullah’s internal security apparatus, Talal Hamiya, the head of Operation-Abroad, and others.

* Three judges from the Special Tribunal for Lebanon UN – STL handed over to General Lebanese Prosecutor Saeed Mirza, on Thursday 06/30/2011, a copy of the indictment in ex-Premier Rafik Hariri’s assassination case. According to the reports, the suspects are Salim Ayyash, Hassan Issa, Assad Sabra and Mustafa Badr al-Din, who is known as Sami Issa (see – STL Indictment 2011).

 

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