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Hariri case: US welcomes guilty verdict in Lebanon ex-PM's murder

AFP/Washington, United States
Filed on August 19, 2020
mike Pompeo, us, welcomes, conviction, Hezbollah, man, salim ayyash, murder, former, Lebanon, prime minister, Rafik hariri
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

(Reuters)

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says Ayyash's conviction for 2005 murder confirms Hezbollah's terrorist aims.

The United States welcomed the conviction on Tuesday of a member of the Hezbollah terrorist movement over the 2005 murder of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri.

Salim Ayyash, 56, was found guilty in his absence by the UN-backed tribunal in the Netherlands after a years-long trial for his involvement in a suicide bombing in Beirut that killed the Sunni billionaire and 21 other people.

"Ayyash's conviction helps confirm what the world is increasingly recognising," said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, "that (Hezbollah) and its members are not defenders of Lebanon as they claim to be but constitute a terrorist organisation dedicated to advancing Iran's malign sectarian agenda."

The three other alleged Hezbollah members who were accused were acquitted. The judges also said there was no evidence to directly link Syria -- the former military overlord in Lebanon -- or Hezbollah's leadership to the attack.

"Although Ayyash remains at large, the ruling underscores the importance of rendering justice and ending impunity, which is imperative to ensuring Lebanon's security, stability, and sovereignty," Pompeo added.


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