Hizbullah bars members from Hariri tribunal interviews

Days after saying it will block funding, Hizbullah lays another roadblock in front of Hariri tribunal progress.

Hizbullah Nasrallah on TV 311 AP (photo credit: Associated Press)
Hizbullah Nasrallah on TV 311 AP
(photo credit: Associated Press)
BEIRUT — Hizbullah said it had denied a request from the international tribunal investigating the 2005 assassination of a former Lebanese prime minister to interview some of its members on Thursday.
The possibility that the court probing Rafik Hariri's slaying could indict some members of the Iranian-backed Shiite militant group has been fueling Lebanon's worst political crisis in years.
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Hizbullah 's deputy leader, Sheik Naim Kassem, said on Thursday that the tribunal asked to see several of members of the group after the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in September. He said the court didn't get a "positive reply."
Tribunal officials in the Netherlands were not available for comment.
Hizbullah said that international investigators interviewed 18 of the group's members and supporters earlier in 2010.
Earlier in the week, Hizbullah announced that it would use its position in the government to try to block Lebanon's funding for the UN court investigating the assassination.
Hizbullah has a key role in the country's fragile national unity government, which is led by the slain leader's son — Prime Minister Saad Hariri — who heads a Western-backed coalition.
Despite opposition to the court, Prime Minister Saad Hariri and his supporters insist the tribunal will go forward.