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article imageUN tribunal names Hezbollah members suspected in Hariri killing

By Sam Halaby     Jul 29, 2011 in World
The Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) released the identities of four suspects wanted for the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri on Friday.
Indictments for the four suspects, who are all linked to Lebanese political party and militant group Hezbollah, were issued late last month. Their identities had remained hidden to allow government investigations, according to the Jerusalem Post.
However, their names had been leaked to the media on the day the STL handed the sealed indictments to the state prosecutor, according to a report from Beirut’s Daily Star.
The tribunal’s pre-trial judge Daniel Fransen lifted the ban on naming the suspects, making their identities available to the public in order to increase the likelihood of apprehending the suspects, according to a statement released in Haaretz.
The names and photographs of the suspects were all profiled on the STL’s website.
The four men identified by the STL as Salim Jamil Ayyash, Mustafa Amine Badreddine, Hussein Hassan Oneissi, and Assad Hassan Sabra. According to Reuters, Bahreddine is a senior member of Hezbollah and the brother-in-law of Imad Moghniyeh, a senior commander of the militant group, who was assassinated in Syria in 2008.
The Daily Star reported in early July that Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah had confirmed the suspects’ names that had been leaked in the indictment, but stated that the men would never be in caught “in 300 years” and would have to be tried in absentia.
The Lebanese government, which is backed by Hezbollah, has until August 11 to report progress made in carrying out the arrest warrants, according to the tribunal. A political commentator told Reuters that the four suspects have been relocated by Hezbollah to avoid government embarrassment.
Nasrallah and Hezbollah have accused the tribunal multiple times of being part of a “US-Israeli” project aimed at targeting the group, and sowing strife in the country. The group claim they had no involvement in the February 2005 explosion which killed Hariri and 22 others in Beirut.
The group refused comment following news of the suspects’ identification.
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