Al-Rahi: No One Has Right to Request Handing over of Hariri Murder Suspectsإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi said Thursday that no one should request the authorities to hand over suspects in ex-Premier Rafik Hariri's assassination because they are innocent until proven guilty.
“No party has the right to request the handing over of the suspects because a suspect is innocent until proven guilty and the issue is up to the judiciary to decide,” al-Rahi said in response to a question on the request made by the March 14 opposition alliance.
But Bkirki spokesman Walid Ghayyad told Naharnet that al-Rahi “differentiated between the political and judicial accusation,” saying “the judiciary should be making the request to avoid complicating things.”
The patriarch supports “the handing over of the suspects if the court (Special Tribunal for Lebanon) makes such a request because not every suspect is guilty and we can't consider him guilty before the final verdict.”
Salim Ayyash, Hussein Oneissi, Mustafa Badreddine and Assad Sabra, who are Hizbullah members, have been indicted in Hariri's Feb. 2005 assassination in a massive suicide car bombing.
In June last year, the STL issued warrants and Interpol has also issued a "red notice" for the suspects. But Lebanese authorities have not arrested them for allegedly not being able to find them.
During the press conference he held in Rome on Thursday night, which coincided with Lebanon's Independence Day, al-Rahi said that independence is based on the sovereignty of decision-making away from the threat of arms or illegal training camps.
He stressed the importance of holding the 2013 parliamentary elections on time and not to adopt the 1960s electoral law.
Al-Rahi also said the formation of a new government should be held calmly to avoid pushing Lebanon into a vacuum that threatens the country's economy.
The March 14 opposition has been calling on the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Miqati's cabinet and the formation of a salvation government.
He reiterated that the country's bickering parties should attend the national dialogue session called for by President Michel Suleiman at Baabda palace.
Al-Rahi is in Rome to be officially appointed as cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday.