THE HAGUE - The alleged killers of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri should be tried in absentia, judges at an international tribunal in The Hague ruled on Wednesday, clearing another obstacle in the case.

Judges at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon said there was no reason to revisit the court's decision to proceed in the absence of the four men accused of the 2006 seafront bombing in Beirut that killed Hariri and 21 others.

The court was set up to try Hariri's killers, but the men remain at large in Lebanon despite repeated requests for their extradition.

Their court-appointed defense lawyers, who have no contact with their clients, had asked the court to reconsider its decision in February to push ahead with the trial without the suspects.

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