Lebanon tribunal to try Hariri suspects in absentia

February 1, 2012 21:47

BEIRUT - A UN-backed tribunal said on Wednesday it would try in absentia four fugitive Hezbollah suspects indicted over the 2005 killing of Lebanon's former prime minister Rafik al-Hariri.

Warrants for the arrest of the four men were issued by the tribunal in June but Lebanon later told the court it had been unable to track any of them down.

The Shi'ite Muslim group Hezbollah has denied any role in the bombing which killed Hariri, a billionaire Sunni Muslim politician, and 21 other people on the Beirut seafront and said it would refuse to allow any of the suspects to be arrested.

The Netherlands-based Special Tribunal for Lebanon said the four suspects would be tried in their absence after concluding that "all reasonable steps have been taken to secure the appearance of the accused and to notify them of the charges."

The suspects were named in July as Mustafa Amine Badreddine, a senior Hezbollah figure and brother-in-law of slain Hezbollah commander Imad Mughniyeh, as well as Salim Jamil Ayyash, Hussein Hassan Oneissi and Assad Hassan Sabra.

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