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Hariri case: Saudi Arabia calls for Hezbollah to be 'punished' after verdict

AFP/Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Filed on August 18, 2020
Saudi arabia, called, Hezbollah, punished, un, tribunal, found member, guilty, 2005, murder, Lebanese prime minister, Rafik hariri
Bahiya Hariri, the sister of Lebanon's former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, prays at his grave after UN-backed tribunal convicted a Hezbollah member of conspiracy to kill Hariri in a 2005 bombing, in Beirut, Lebanon August 18, 2020.

(Reuters)

Kingdom reacts after 1 Hezbollah member convicted and 3 are acquitted following 2005 killing of former Lebanese PM.

Saudi Arabia called Tuesday for Hezbollah to be "punished" after a UN-backed tribunal found a member of the Shiite movement guilty over the 2005 murder of Lebanese ex-prime minister Rafik Hariri.

"The government of Saudi Arabia views the ruling as the emergence of truth and the beginning of a process of achieving justice by chasing, arresting and punishing those involved," the kingdom's foreign ministry said on Twitter.

"Saudi Arabia, by calling for Hezbollah and its terrorist elements to face justice and be punished,k" it added.

Hezbollah is a key ally of Syria and Shiite powerhouse Iran, Saudi Arabia's main regional rival.

Salim Ayyash, 56, was convicted in absentia in the Netherlands, over the huge suicide bombing in Beirut that killed Sunni billionaire Hariri and 21 other people.

But the judges said there was not enough evidence to convict three other suspects -- Assad Sabra, Hussein Oneissi and Hassan Habib Merhi.

The court also ruled that there was no evidence to directly link Hezbollah's leadership or Syria, long the dominant military power in Lebanon, to the attack. 

The long-awaited decision prompted mixed reactions, with the late Hariri's son Saad telling journalists outside the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) he accepted the tribunal's verdict and found it "satisfying".


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