Suspect in Hariri killing says Beirut knows where he lives

Wanted Hezbollah member tells 'Time': if authorities wanted to arrest me they would have; Lebanon denies it knows location of killers.

August 20, 2011 18:37
2 minute read.
Billboards of Rafik Hariri in Sidon

Rafik Hariri billboards 311 R. (photo credit: Ali Hashisho / Reuters)

Lebanese State Prosecutor Saeed Mirza on Saturday denied reports made by one of the four Hezbollah members indicted for the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri that the government in Beirut knows his location but is unable to arrest him, Lebanon’s Daily Star newspaper reported.

“The Lebanese authorities know where I live, and if they wanted to arrest me they would have done it a long time ago. Simply, they cannot,” the accused assassin said.

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He gave an exclusive interview to Time magazine on Thursday in which he blamed Israel for the assassination, which took place in Beirut on February 14, 2005. He said that he would never turn himself in, nor would Hezbollah ever let him or his comrades go to trial.

The Hezbollah member, who refused to allow his name to be published despite proving his identity to the Time reporter, accused the Mossad of killing Hariri and forging evidence against him and his organization.

He also said that the UN backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon had no teeth and that even though the Lebanese government knew where he lived and worked it would not be able to arrest him because Hezbollah would not allow it.

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon released a detailed indictment on August 17. Four suspects, Mustafa Amine Badreddine – a senior Hezbollah figure and brother-in-law of its slain commander Imad Moughniyeh – Salim Jamil Ayyash, Hussein Hassan Oneissi and Assad Hassan Sabra were indicted and their methods of operation were detailed in the document.

“The four accused participated in a conspiracy with others aimed at committing a terrorist act to assassinate Rafik Hariri,” the 47-page indictment said.

In response, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said that his organization was in no way responsible for the death of Hariri, and that he would not allow any of the accused men to be arrested.

When the indictment was issued, Rafik Hariri’s son, former Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri, called on Hezbollah to sever ties with the suspects and to hand them over to the tribunal to face trial.

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