Future Movement MP Okab Sakr said Thursday that he has the original recordings ( implicating him in arms transfers to Syrian rebels) and said the recordings that were broadcast in Lebanon were taken out of context and that he was actually negotiating the release of Lebanese kidnapped in Syria.
“They thought to cut the recordings and that I didn’t have the full audio tape, but their hatred and intention to politically assassinate me made them think that I do not have any of the tapes,” Sakr told reporters in a news conference in Turkey.
He added that the tapes belonged to him and were stolen.
Sakr played what he said was the full audio tape between himself and Abu Nooman, the man responsible for kidnapping Lebanese in the town of Azaz earlier this year, as the latter asks him for arms in exchange for the release of the men.
“We are not asking for much but some metal [in reference to arms] … we don’t ask for money just some arms so we can get rid of Assad,” Abu Nooman said.
Sakr responds: “I don’t have arms or metal or anything … I can speak to members of the Free Syrian Army to transfer some arms.”
Eleven Shiite pilgrims were abducted near Aleppo’s northern Syrian border town of Azaz on May 22 while returning from a pilgrimage in Iran. Two of them have been released so far.
Sakr also said negotiation with regards to the remaining Lebanese in Syria was on hold for the moment.
Days after the media began circulating the sound bites, Sakr verified the authenticity of the tapes and said: “That is my voice and these are my words.”
Speaking to pan-Arab Ash-Sharq al-Awsat, the MP said: “Yes. This is my voice and those are my words. I am not in the habit of denying my words or voice and I am not ashamed of what I have done and am doing.”
He added that he was ready to face any legal measures against him.
During the conference, he described “those who cut the tapes,” as naïve for only broadcasting the sections where the MP speaks about weapons.
He said that he would provide the media with all the tapes, which were recorded seven months ago and are part of some 500 minutes of conversation.
Lebanon-based Orange Television and Al-Akhbar newspaper broadcast and printed last week what it said were tapes provided by Sakr’s assistant, implicating the MP in arms transfer to the opposition.
The MP played another taped conversation that OTV had broadcast sections of, in which Sakr can be heard negotiating the transfer of milk and blankets for children. In the clip broadcast by OTV it is not apparent what Sakr is transferring.
“Yes, I fed the children of Syria milk while the axis of deceit feeds the children of Syria blood,” Sakr said.
“I sent blankets and tents and participated in constructing buildings in Homs with the instigation and funding of Saad Hariri; that criminal who wanted to shelter Syria’s women,” he added.
The clips played by Lebanese media outlets drew heavy backlash from the Future Movement’s rivals in the March 8 coalition, who asked that Sakr be prosecuted based on the “evidence.”
Sakr said he will provide Lebanon’s Prosecutor Judge Hatem Madi with his own version of the tapes and will file lawsuit against “anyone who is involved with this forgery.”
Madi has tasked the Central Criminal Investigations Bureau with examining the media’s audio recordings.
Sakr also slammed his rivals in the majority, dubbing them as “the axis of fraud.”
“All of the Syrian regime and their puppets and some March 8 groups will be called the groups of fraud and the axis of deceit,” the MP, who has been out of the country for over a year, said.
Sakr also claimed that Hezbollah’s security official Wafiq Safa had informed security agencies in Lebanon of the tapes and intended to send a warning to the lawmaker.
He claimed that three groups had come to Turkey to assassinate him but failed.
“Hariri and I cannot be killed by some fabricated audiotapes. You need something bigger like the bomb that killed [Brig. Gen. Wissam] al-Hasan,” he said.
Hasan was assassinated on Oct. 19 by a car bomb that ripped through the Beirut district of Ashrafieh and prompted the opposition to demand the resignation of the government.
March 14 has also accused Assad of being behind the killing.
Sakr added that his ties with the “Syrian revolution are something to be proud of.”