A United Nations tribunal has convicted one member of the Hezbollah terrorist organization for the 2005 murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
Salim Ayyash was found guilty by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon in the suicide truck bombing in which Hariri was assassinated. 21 other people were killed and 226 people were wounded in the attack.
Three other Hezbollah members, Assad Sabra;,Hassan Oneissi, and Hassan Habib Merhi were acquitted by the tribunal in the murder of Hariri.
The tribunal also stated that there was no evidence that the leadership of Hezbollah or the Syrian government were involved in the assassination.
Presiding Judge David Re said the judges were “of the view that Syria and Hezbollah may have had motives to eliminate Mr. Hariri, and some of his political allies.” He added that there was no evidence that “Hezbollah leadership had any involvement in Mr. Hariri’s murder, and there is no direct evidence of Syrian involvement in it.”
The tribunal could only rule on individuals, not organizations or nations such as Hezbollah and Syria.
The verdict had originally been scheduled to be released on August 7, but was delayed until today following the August 4 explosion at the Beirut port in which about 180 people were killed and about 6,000 people were wounded.
Ayyash's sentence will be determined at a later date.