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Lebanon Tribunal Unseals New Indictment against Hezbollah Suspect

Lebanon Tribunal Unseals New Indictment against Hezbollah Suspect

Monday, 16 September, 2019 - 17:30
A portrait of slain Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri sits on his grave which is covered by flowers in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014. (AP)

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon unsealed on Monday a new indictment, including terrorism and intentional homicide, against a Hezbollah suspect, who is accused of assassinating Lebanese former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

The Netherlands-based court announced that a judge has confirmed a new five-count indictment accusing Salim Jamil Ayyash of three bombings targeting Lebanese politicians in 2004 and 2005.

The new indictment, issued under seal in June, accuses Ayyash of three bombings on October 1, 2004, June 21 and July 12, 2005, each targeting a different politician — Marwan Hamadeh, Georges Hawi and Elias El-Murr.

Hawi was killed and the other two politicians wounded in the attacks. Two other people also were killed and nearly 20 injured.

"Ayyash coordinated the preparation and execution of each of these attacks," the indictment said.

The court said on Monday that Ayyash, whose whereabouts are unknown, would be presumed innocent of the new charges, but that there is enough evidence against him to merit a trial. The court sent new warrants for his arrest to the Lebanese government and international police organizations.

He was one of four Hezbollah members tried in absentia by the tribunal for masterminding the truck bombing that killed Hariri and 21 others and wounded more than 220 passers-by on February 14, 2005.

Judges have not yet reached verdicts.

Hezbollah denies involvement in Hariri's assassination. Its chief Hassan Nasrallah refused to recognize the tribunal and said the suspects will never be found.

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