Freed Hariri suspect says his release may shift Lebanese political balance

A general freed after nearly four years in jail in connection with the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri said Thursday his release by a UN-backed tribunal discredited Lebanon's judiciary and could shift the country's fragile political balance. Brig. Gen. Jamil al-Sayyed, one of the former Lebanese security officials the tribunal ordered released on Wednesday citing insufficient evidence, called for the resignation of senior Lebanese judges. "Inevitably, there will be political consequences," Sayyed told The Associated Press in an interview. "It was only natural that when the tribunal took a decision that goes against the politically motivated detention, there would be an opposite political impact." The tribunal's decision was a setback for Lebanon's pro-Western political bloc headed by Hariri's son Saad. Senior judiciary officials who were in charge of the generals' case are considered by many to be close to Saad Hariri and his alliance. The bloc, which holds a majority in parliament, was struggling to contain the political damage heading into crucial elections in June against a Hizbullah-led faction.