The Marshall Islands have withdrawn their nomination of a former General Security chief Maj. Gen. Jamil Sayyed to the UNESCO, a well-placed diplomatic source told Agence France Presse on Wednesday.
Sayyed, spent four years in prison on suspicion of involvement in the 2005 murder of the former prime minister Rafik Hariri. He denies any involvement and claims to have been subjected to arbitrary detention.
The Marshall Islands' move to nominate him to UNESCO, the U.N.'s cultural arm, was revealed by French daily Le Figaro, which noted that acquiring diplomatic immunity could enable Sayyed to avoid potential prosecution by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, the international U.N.-backed criminal tribunal looking into Hariri's murder.
The former premier was killed in a Beirut bomb attack which also claimed the lives of 22 others and left 226 people injured.
The attack was initially blamed on local officers suspected of being close to Syria but the Special Tribunal has since indicted four members of Hizbullah and begun to try them in their absence.
The diplomatic source said both UNESCO and France, as the organization's host country, had been informed that Sayyed would not be coming to Paris to represent the Marshalls.
The Marshall Islands are a former U.S. territory of around 70,000 residents in the Pacific Ocean.
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