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Special tribunal for Lebanon acquits three suspects

People gather and wave Lebanon national flags in front of the UN-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) at Leidschendam on August 18, 2020.

Mariam Saleh
Press TV, Beirut

A UN-backed tribunal for Lebanon has delivered its final verdict on the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, saying here’s no evidence, Hezbollah or the Syrian government were involved in the assassination.

After some 15 years of investigations and trial, The UN-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon on Tuesday issued its verdict convicting one out of four original suspects of involvement in the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, and acquitted three others.

Though the convicted, Salim Ayyash, is allegedly a supporter of Hezbollah, the presiding judge speculated that there was no evidence that Hezbollah or Syria had any involvement in Hariri's murder.

Lawyers appointed by the tribunal itself had said there was no physical evidence linking any of the four suspects to the crime.

Experts believe that this tribunal has been from the beginning purely political.

Hezbollah’s secretary general Sayed Hassan Nasrallah had doubted on several occasions the investigations and trial of the Special Tribunal saying they were not based on direct or substantial evidence, and even disregarded many possible suspects despite the presence of evidence. 

In 2010, Sayyed Nasrallah uncovered evidence that shows how Israeli drones had constantly monitored the movements of Rafik Hariri, and that it was Israel that had a strong motive to get rid of him.

The trial opened in March 2009. Rafiq Hariri was killed on February 14, 2005 in a car bombing in Beirut. Explosives put inside a parked vehicle were detonated as Hariri’s motorcade drove by. Twenty-one other people were also killed in the bombing.

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