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Nasrallah Rejects Hariri Indictment

Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah rejects Hariri murder indictment. "There is no real evidence," he claims.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 8/18/2011, 1:44 AM

Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah
Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah
Al Manar TV

Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah rejected Wednesday the unsealed indictment released earlier in the day by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, The Daily Star reported.

In a video speech screened during a feast to mark the end of the Ramadan fasting day Nasrallah said, “There is no real evidence … the only thing that the indictment is based on is telecoms data.”

Earlier on Wednesday, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon formally published partially-censored indictments naming four Hizbullah terrorists for involvement in the assassination of former Lebanese leader Rafik Hariri and 22 others in a truck bombing in 2005.

The four, Mustafa Amine Badreddine, Salim Jamil Ayyash, Hussein Hassan Oneissi and Assad Hassan Sabra, are still at large. Lebanon has said it cannot locate them, while Nasrallah has vowed never to turn them in.

In his speech Wednesday, broadcast by Hezbollah’s Al-Manar television, Nasrallah reiterated his praise for the four members of his group, describing them as honorable and innocent.

“This indictment only adds to our confidence that what is happening is a high level of injustice and politicization and these honorable members of the resistance should not even be accused,” he said.

“Throughout the years … It has been confirmed that Israel has great control over telecommunications in Lebanon and the ability to manipulate data and use people’s phones without their knowledge,” he added. “This by itself challenges credibility of the indictment.”

He was referring to the fact that in the past year, Lebanon has arrested several employees of a local telecom company and accused them of being spies for Israel.

Nasrallah also reiterated his previous accusations that the tribunal took one sole course in its investigation, focusing on the resistance to the exclusion of other possible suspects, namely Israel.

“The STL has failed to take into consideration other circumstantial evidence that might reveal Israel’s role in the assassination,” he said, referring to the ‘evidence’ his organization had produced which supposedly proves Israel’s involvement in the murder.

“It is good that the indictment was made public so that people can read it and realize the grand operation that is being worked on by international, regional and local partners,” Nasrallah added.

“What has been published only confirms what has been said in previous months and two years ago that the investigation is not transparent and not scientific and it already has been published in Israeli and Arab newspapers and Der Spiegel,” he claimed.

Earlier, former Lebanese Prime Minister Sa’ad Hariri called on Hizbullah to surrender the four to the tribunal, saying Hizbullah and Nasrallah “should put an end to the policy of evading the STL, cooperate with the tribunal, and hand over the suspects in order to ensure the establishment of a fair trial.”