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Middle east

Three suspects released in Hariri murder case

Video by Siobhán SILKE

Latest update : 2009-02-28

Lebanese authorities have released three out of the seven suspects named before the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, set up to try suspects over the 2005 killing of former premier Rafik Hariri. Four Lebanese generals are still in custody.

AFP - Lebanese authorities on Wednesday released three of seven suspects held over the 2005 murder of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri, the office of public prosecutor Said Mirza told AFP.

The three are Lebanese brothers Mahmoud and Ahmed Abdel Aal and Syrian Ibrahim Jarjura, all civilians who were being held on suspicion of withholding information and misleading the probe into the assassination.

Their release comes shortly before the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, set up to try suspects over the Beirut bomb blast in February 2005 that killed Hariri and 22 other people opens its doors in The Hague on Sunday.

Still in custody are four Lebanese generals who held senior positions in a security apparatus long orchestrated by the country's then powerbroker, Syria, which has roundly denied accusations it was behind the assassination.

They are Mustafa Hamdan, who commanded the presidential guard; Jamil Sayyed, who was director of security services; Ali Hajj, who headed domestic security and Raymond Azar, who was commander of army intelligence.

While none of the seven has ever been indicted for the murder, the generals were detained on suspicion of premeditated murder, attempted premeditated murder and carrying out terrorist acts.

Date created : 2009-02-25