Samaha Trial Postponed to May 2014

The trial of former Minister Michel Samaha has been postponed to May 2014 after authorities failed once again to summon Syrian security chief General Ali Mamlouk, reported LBCI television on Tuesday.

It revealed that the trial was postponed to May 30, 2014.

Tuesday's hearing only lasted about four minutes, added LBCI, saying that members of Samaha's family, including his wife, were present in the courtroom.

Samaha's lawyer Sakher Hashem told LBCI that he is seeking to present a request to release the former minister from custody.

“Samaha is in very good health and we hope that we will soon see him released,” he remarked.

Samaha, who is considered close to the Syrian regime, was arrested in August last year for planning attacks in Lebanon along with the two Syrian officials.

His trial includes Mamlouk and a Syrian colonel identified only by his first name Adnan.

Samaha's trial had previously been postponed from June to December 3 over the failure to summon Mamlouk.

The former minister and two Syrian official were indicted in February "for transporting explosives from Syria to Lebanon in an attempt to assassinate Lebanese political and religious leaders."

The Lebanese judiciary sent Syria a formal notification of the warrants and charges in February, but received no response.

In the event of a non-response, Lebanese law allows for the trial against Samaha to proceed with Mamlouk being tried in absentia, but the court has not so far suggested it would take that approach.

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