UNRWA seeking more funds from Gulf, Europe after US cuts
Lebanon’s Saad Hariri arrives for trial of Hezbollah agents accused of killing father
THE HAGUE: Saad Hariri, Lebanon’s premier-designate, arrived in the Netherlands on Monday to attend the final stage of the trial of four Hezbollah agents accused of killing his father.
The long-running trial at a UN-backed court of the men accused of assassinating Rafik Hariri, himself a former prime minister, will resume on Tuesday.
Prosecutors and defense lawyers will make their final statements but the defendants will be absent.
The extraordinary trial seeks to bring to justice those behind the huge bomb in Beirut that killed Hariri in 2005.
Hezbollah has refused to turn over the four indicted men – Salim Ayyash, Hussein Oneissi, Assad Sabra and Hassan Habib Merhi – for the trial which began in January 2014.
The Special Tribunal for Lebanon said that two weeks of closing arguments will start with the prosecution on Tuesday presenting “a summary of the case they presented in court since 2014.”
Legal representatives for the victims of the attack, which killed 21 people besides billionaire Hariri and injured 226, will follow suit, followed by the defense, AFP reported.
A verdict is not expected until next year.
The assassination of Hariri, who was Lebanon’s Sunni prime minister until his resignation in October 2004, was a pivotal moment in the country’s history.
Fingers pointed at Syria after the bomb detonated next to Hariri’s armored convoy on the Beirut seafront.
The bombing triggered a wave of mass demonstrations that ended with the the departure of Syrian forces from Lebanon after a 30-year presence, after which Hariri’s son Saad became premier.
When the tribunal eventually handed down indictments it targeted four members of Hezbollah.
Saad Hariri is about to start his third term in office. Lebanese newspaper The Daily Star said Hariri had arrived in the Netherlands on Monday.
Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Hezbollah has repeatedly dismissed the tribunal as a US-Israeli plot.