Officials Condemn Samaha Verdict as Jumblat Says it 'Legalizes Assassinations'

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Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat criticized on Thursday the sentence issued by the military court against former Minister Michel Samaha.

“The court's verdict in Samaha's case legalizes assassinations and explosions,” he said in a statement.

“The verdict can only be described as a judicial, military, and political scandal that avoids the implementation of the law and justice against those who oversaw the execution of crimes and terrorist bombings,” he added.

“This light verdict contradicts all political and legal factors and leads us to addressing the case of the military judiciary … which has exceeded its privileges,” he continued.

The MP noted that Samaha's verdict demands that the military tribunal's jurisdiction in tackling crimes be reconsidered and allow normal courts to play their role.

“The verdict should therefore be reconsidered in order to avoid allowing this incident to pave the way to legalizing terrorism and murder, which would ignite the internal Lebanese scene for the interests of regional axes in a manner that would ensure their survival at the expense of Lebanon's stability,” Jumblat remarked.

Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi later added: “We will stay in our fight towards the building of the state against the mini-state.”

He said he is planning to amend the law of the military court.

Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq said after a cabinet session held at the Grand Serail: “We will exert efforts to avoid the repetition of such verdicts in future cases and to ensure that all Lebanese are treated equally.”

Meanwhile, Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea voiced his support for Rifi's position on the verdict, saying: “It is time to abolish exceptional trial, starting with military ones.”

He added, via Twitter, that there should be a return to civil trials.

The minister had declared in the wake of the verdict on Wednesday that it fell short of his expectations.

“I announce to the Lebanese people the death of the Military Court and we will utilize all means to amend the law of military trials,” he said.

Geagea added: “The verdict diminishes the Lebanese people's trust in the state and in the existence of justice.”

The tribunal sentenced on Wednesday Samaha to four-and-a-half years in jail over terrorism charges.

Samaha, arrested in August 2012, would be released at the end of this year taking into account time served and because the judicial year amounts to nine months in Lebanon.

He was found guilty of "having tried to carry out terrorist actions and for belonging to an armed group" and was also stripped of his civic and political rights.

The defense team argues that the former minister fell into a trap set by the Internal Security Forces Intelligence Branch.

Samaha, who was also once an adviser to Syrian President Bashar Assad, admitted in court last month that he had transported explosives from Syria for use in attacks in Lebanon, but argued he had been the victim of entrapment.

The explosives were to be used in blasts on the Lebanese border, intended to force the closure of the frontier and stop the passage of Lebanese fighters joining rebel forces in Syria.

The prosecution had charged Samaha and Syrian security services chief Ali Mamlouk with transporting explosives and planning attacks and assassinations of political and religious figures in Lebanon.

The trial was postponed multiple times because of the absence of Mamlouk, who remains in Syria, until a judge separated the two cases, allowing Samaha's trial to open on April 20.

Syria maintained a nearly 30-year presence in Lebanon, withdrawing its troops in 2005 after the assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri.

But a series of assassinations of prominent anti-Syrian regime figures in Lebanon followed the withdrawal.

Samaha could have faced the death penalty if convicted in the trial.

The Lebanese judiciary has issued an arrest warrant for Mamlouk and sent Syria a formal notification of the warrant and charges, but received no response.

Samaha's trial came amid continuing tensions in Lebanon over the Syrian conflict that began in March 2011 with protests against Assad's regime.

Beirut has maintained an official policy of neutrality on the war, but the violence has regularly spilled over its borders and exacerbated existing sectarian tensions.



Comments 25
Thumb ex-fpm 14 May 2015, 14:44

assassinations have been legal in Lebanon if they are carried out by ashraf al nass.

Thumb -phoenix1 14 May 2015, 15:20

Why does the military allow itself to be dented from time to time? Has it not been warned time and time that meddling into its decision mechanism will simply damage its integrity? How hard is the army trying regain its integrity with the people? If the MT cannot dispense fair justice, then let it take the rest it deserves and leave the civil courts to run the business of justice, simple and end of story.

Thumb ex-fpm 14 May 2015, 15:48

the current military court is dominated by aounis, phoenix. If you recall aoun was very upset by Smaha's arrest and during a press conference he was agitated and said to the journalists asking him questions :" Who told you the explosives came from Syria"

Thumb -phoenix1 14 May 2015, 16:48

I agree with you Exfpm, I know well that court, they infiltrated it years back during the Syrian occupation, remnants of the Syrian sawdust still impede the proper running of justice there, but all in due time. One by one, they'll go, just like when wind blows sawdust away.

Thumb chrisrushlau 14 May 2015, 15:24

If Lebanon had a legal system it would give the Shia majority the power to rule the country.

Thumb freedomarch 14 May 2015, 15:43

Who said Shi3a are the majority in Lebanon Mr. statistical wise guy?

Thumb Mystic 14 May 2015, 19:07

They are majority, 1.5 million.

Missing 15 May 2015, 01:50

Mystic - do you know the difference between plurality and majority? Majority is 50 percent plus one. Plurality is the largest among several group but not necessarily a majority.

Missing humble 14 May 2015, 16:16

You mean to rule with a backaged civilization?

Thumb -phoenix1 14 May 2015, 16:46

If Lebanon had a legal system, it would have long since freed itself from organizations like the PLO and Hezbollah. There is no majority in Lebanon but a recollection of minorities who will in the event unite and turn against an oppressor. Right now the oppressor is called Hezbollah and because of that dumb mentality, the Shiites will one be unwelcome in their own land. Now dreams are for free, keep to your slumber mister sectarian Chris.

Thumb -phoenix1 14 May 2015, 16:50

**..Will one day be unwelcome....**

Thumb thepatriot 14 May 2015, 15:28

This is dangerous establishes a precedent that jeopardizes this country even more...

Thumb thepatriot 14 May 2015, 15:32

Send him to the STL!

Thumb geha 14 May 2015, 15:41

and they ask you: why do you want an STL?

Thumb Mystic 14 May 2015, 19:06

They should trial Rifi, Hariri etc. For their open support to takfiri groups ISIS and Nusra.

Thumb _mowaten_ 14 May 2015, 16:01

assassinations were legalized with the general amnesty law at the end of the civil war, which is the only reason your ape-looking, takfiri-loving dja2dja3 wasnt hanged.
as for your accusations against hezbollah, go ahead and prove it. in the mean time it's just hot air you're moving around.

Thumb EagleDawn 14 May 2015, 16:13

mowaten you are not even Lebanese. Everybody here knows you are an iranian shia posting to disrupt the forum so cut the BS and go worship your hussain.

Thumb EagleDawn 14 May 2015, 16:16

Hahahahhahaha thanks for cheering me up... "accusations against hezbollah, go ahead and prove it" hahahahaha hahahahahahahah so you do have a sense of humor! :D

Thumb galaxy 14 May 2015, 18:19

go get educated you sectarian trash. There are verdicts against both although they have not been tried.

Thumb saturn 14 May 2015, 18:31

None of those shouting have even whispered anything about bringing justice to those. Sectarian bias?

Have a Ph.D. yourself, don't you, trash?

Thumb freedomarch 14 May 2015, 18:36

Mosi, that is very true, now go get a bon ner.

Thumb freedomarch 14 May 2015, 18:45

So rabbi you are deffending what this crap confessed to? As long as he knew what he carried with him ... ?

Thumb freedomarch 14 May 2015, 18:51

And the argument that didn't know what he what was going on, how come he pay 170 000 $, like a scrued up dumb, gives this ammount for a crime hw knew nothing about, ohh or to just plant bombs on the border, that is ok and acceptted from a huzbollah and ASSad advusor.

Thumb freedomarch 14 May 2015, 18:52

And the argument that didn't know what he what was going on, how come he pay 170 000 $, like a scrued up dumb, gives this ammount for a crime hw knew nothing about, ohh or to just plant bombs on the border, that is ok and acceptted from a huzbollah and ASSad advusor.

Thumb freedomarch 14 May 2015, 18:54

***And the argument that he didn't know what was going on, how come he pay 170 000 $, like a scrued up dumb, gives this ammount for a crime he knew nothing about, ohh or to just plant bombs on the border, that is ok and acceptted from a hizbollah and ASSad advisor.