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MP Hamadeh to Make Political Testimony before STL Next Week

MP Marwan Hamadeh is scheduled on Monday to make his political testimony before the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, reported the daily An Nahar on Saturday.

His testimony will pave the way to tackling the political motivations linked to the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005, added the daily.

The Prosecution had compiled two days ago the factors that characterized Hariri's “very tense” relationship with Syrian President Bashar Assad in the period that preceded the assassination.

These factors include the pressure that Assad had imposed on Hariri, which prompted the STL to call for hearing political testimonies linked to this aspect of the case, continued An Nahar.

Hamadeh will be the first of a list of politicians who will appear before the court.

His testimony will last three to four days, said the daily..

Other officials to follow include head of the Mustaqbal bloc MP Fouad Saniora, former MP Salim Diab, and MP Saad Hariri's media advisor Hani Hammoud, revealed al-Akhbar newspaper on Saturday, reported al-Akhbar newspaper Saturday.

Commenting on the development, Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq hoped that “the repercussions of the very difficult political testimonies will be contained in Lebanon.”

“We hope the testimonies will not create new crises,” he added according to As Safir newspaper on Saturday.

The in absentia trial of four Hizbullah members accused of murdering former PM Rafik Hariri in February 2005 kick off at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon in The Hague in January.

The February 14, 2005 seafront blast killed 22 people including Hariri and wounded 226.

Although the attack was initially blamed on four pro-Syrian Lebanese generals, the court in 2011 issued arrest warrants against Mustafa Badreddine, 52, Salim Ayyash, 50, Hussein Oneissi, 39, and Assad Sabra, 37, all members of Hizbullah.

The four suspects were indicted in 2011 with plotting the attack, but have not been arrested. A fifth, Hassan Habib Merhi, was charged late last year in the case and is also still at large.

To date, 36 witnesses have testified before the tribunal and a total of 461 exhibits were admitted into evidence.

The March 14 alliance that was produced in the aftermath of the assassination accuses Syria of being behind the murder and string of other assassinations that have plagued Lebanon over the years.

Syria and Hizbullah were blamed for the December 27, 2013 assassination of former finance minister Mohammed Shatah, an aide to Saad Hariri, in a downtown Beirut bombing.

Shatah was the ninth high-profile critic of the Syrian regime to be killed in Lebanon since Hariri's assassination.

M.T.


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