Prosecutor asks Hezbollah for full file on Hariri

AMSTERDAM — The prosecutor in the assassination case of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri said on Tuesday that Hezbollah was holding back evidence it claims to have implicating Israel as the killer.

By (AP)

Published: Wed 25 Aug 2010, 12:54 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 5:51 AM

The U.N.-appointed prosecutor, Daniel Bellemare, said a packet of evidence handed over by the powerful Lebanese militia last week was “incomplete,” and failed to add anything to what Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah disclosed at a news conference earlier this month.

Nasrallah displayed what he said were intercepted aerial surveillance tapes that indicated Israeli intelligence had been tracking Hariri’s movements before his death in a 2005 truck bomb explosion, and claimed he had more evidence against the Israelis.

Bellemare demanded that Hezbollah hand over all information relevant to his investigation. On Tuesday, his office said it had received only the six DVDs that Nasrallah already had aired, but none of “the rest of the evidence” he claimed to possess.

In a speech in Beirut Tuesday night, Nasrallah reiterated that he did not recognize the legitimacy of the U.N. tribunal.

He did not directly address Bellemare’s request but said: “I am not concerned with the international tribunal nor the international investigation. I will give my reasons and evidence at the appropriate time,” he said.

Israel has dismissed the claims by the Iranian-backed Shia militia as “ridiculous.”

Hariri was an influential businessman who put Lebanon on a post-civil war path to economic recovery and independence from Syria, which had dominated his country for decades. Initial suspicion for his murder fell on Syria, and four pro-Syrian Lebanese army generals were detained without charge for four years before they were released for lack of evidence.

Bellemare has indicated he expects to file indictments soon, possibly by the end of this year.

Hezbollah has said it expects some of its members to face charges, but claims the Netherlands-based tribunal has no credibility and has shown its bias by refusing to investigate Israel.

Bellemare’s statement said all evidence would be thoroughly assessed.

“This can properly be done only if it is based on a complete record,” he said, asking Lebanese authorities to provide the rest of the material Nasrallah claimed to have.

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