Hariri tribunal should not be used for revenge: Opposition

March 1st, 2009 - 11:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Beirut, March 1 (DPA) Lebanon’s pro-Syrian opposition led by Hezbollah said Sunday the chief prosecutor of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, Judge Daniel Bellemare, should ensure that the court does not become politicised and remains within a legal framework.
“The tribunal into the assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri should not be considered a tool for taking revenge or intimidation,” opposition deputy Anwar al-Khalil said.

Hezbollah’s deputy secretary general Sheikh Naeem Qassem, speaking at a religious ceremony, said Lebanon’s judicial system was “facing a test” that it could chose to pass or fail.

He said that political interference in the judicial system was forcing it to keep imprisoned the four general arrested for the 2005 assassination of Hariri.

Qassem said that the four generals “were unjustly imprisoned”, citing an Amnesty International statement saying that they had not been charged or convicted of a crime.

“Where are the institutions, and where is the independence of the judicial system?” he asked.

The generals who are regarded as pro-Syrian are expected to be charged by the tribunal in The Hague in connection with Hariri’s murder. A Lebanese investigating judge Friday rejected a request for their release.

The four - Mustafa Hamdan, commander of the presidential guard, Jamil Sayyed, director of security services, domestic security head Ali Hajj, and the commander of army intelligence Raymond Azar - have been detained in Lebanon since 2005.

Lebanon’s Hezbollah-led opposition, which is backed by Syria and Iran, have long claimed that the tribunal constitutes an unacceptable violation of Lebanese sovereignty - even though it will operate under the Lebanese criminal code - and that it can be politicised to serve as a tool against Syria, their main ally.

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