Naharnet

Saniora Postpones Testimony at STL for Health Reasons

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon canceled on Friday next week's sessions after head of al-Mustaqbal parliamentary bloc and close friend of assassinated Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, Fouad Saniora, requested to postpone it for health-related reasons.

According to a statement issued by Saniora's press office, the ex-PM filed a request to postpone his testimony before the STL for health reasons.

“He didn't refuse to testify,” the statement stressed.

Saniora was a close friend to Hariri and his adviser. He was appointed as Minister of Finance in Hariri's successive cabinets and was the Chairman and Managing Director of Groupe Mediterranee.

In November, MP Marwan Hamadeh paved way to tackling the political motivations linked to the assassination of Hariri in 2005.

The in absentia trial of four Hizbullah members accused of murdering Hariri in February 2005 kick off at the STL in The Hague in January 2013.

The 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 2013 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.


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