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Middle east

Hariri murder suspects released on orders of UN tribunal

Video by Sophie DAVIDSON

Text by FRANCE 24 (with wires)

Latest update : 2009-04-30

Four generals held in connection with the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri have been released. Justice Minister Ibrahim Najjar told FRANCE 24 that the investigation, and the prosecutions, will continue (video).

Lebanon released four army generals on Wednesday who had been detained without charge since Aug 30, 2005 for their alleged implication in the murder of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri on Feb 14, 2005.

 

Earlier on Wednesday, the Hague-based UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon ordered “the release with immediate effect” of the generals after the pre-trial judge found a lack of evidence against them.

 

Lebanese Justice Minister Ibrahim Najjar told FRANCE 24 that his government would "immediately carry out the sentence" delivered by the tribunal.

 

“The investigation continues,” Ajjar added. “This doesn’t mean that Hariri’s murderers and other Lebanese martyrs won’t be prosecuted. We put all our confidence in the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.”

 

Some Lebanese greeted the ruling, which was broadcast live on television, with joy. “There’s honking and celebratory gunfire near the homes of the four generals,” said Isabelle Dellerba, FRANCE 24’s correspondent in Lebanon.

 

According to an initial report from the UN investigation team, there was “converging evidence” leading to the accusation that Syrian and Lebanese secret services were implicated in the attack.

 

The four accused men were - at the time of Hariri’s death - the chief of his presidential guard, head of security services, head of domestic security and head of army intelligence.

 

Ex-premier Hariri died on Aug 14, 2005 along with 22 other people in a massive bomb blast on Beirut’s seafront.


Date created : 2009-04-29

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