(photo credit: Associated Press)
Five high ranking Hezbollah officials are expected to be indicted in the next few days by the United Nations special tribunal investigating the assassination of Rafik Hariri, London-based Asharq Alawsat reported on Monday.
Once the indictments are released, the identities of the accused will be kept secret for a short period in order to allow the Lebanese government to investigate and arrest them, according to the report.
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Initially, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) probing the murder of Rafik Hariri focused on Syria. Lately, indications suggest that the main focus is now on Hezbollah.
Tension is currently rising in Lebanon, amid reports that the STL is to issue indictments in the very near future. The tribunal is tasked with investigating the 2005 murder of Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri, which took place on February 14, 2005. The indictments were orginally expected to be issued by the end of 2010, but were postponed several times.
The Hariri tribunal has followed a long and winding path since its
formation shortly after the murder. In its initial period, it was
expected that its main angle of investigation would focus on the
Syrians. Hariri was known as a defender of Lebanese sovereignty and
therefore a natural adversary of the Syrian regime.
Prosecutor Daniel Bellemare's filing of the indictment in January and
expansion in March set off political crises in Lebanon, where the Shi'ite group Hezbollah and its allies toppled the government
of Hariri's son, Saad Hariri. The release of the indictments is expected
to have serious ramifications in Lebanon and region-wide, even
threatening to throw Lebanon into civil war.