The Special Tribunal for Lebanon’s Office of the Prosecutor on Friday rejected accusations that former Internal Security Forces intelligence chief Wissam al-Hassan—who was assassinated in October 2012—had been linked to the February 14, 2005 killing of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
Both Hezbollah and Syria were accused of being behind Hassan’s assassination.
STL’s statement comes after former UN investigator Bo Astrom told Al-Jadeed in an interview on Tuesday, that Hassan’s absence from Hariri’s motorcade on the day it was targeted by a massive explosion was “suspicious,” adding that he did not believe Hassan’s alibi that he had been taking an exam at a university
Hassan was serving as Rafik Hariri’s security chief at the time.
However, the STL wrote Friday on the social networking site Twitter that “the personal views expressed recently by Mr. Astrom do not reflect or represent the position of the Prosecutor.”
STL added: “The Office of the Prosecutor would like to emphasize that Mr. Bo Astrom has never worked for the Office of the Prosecutor at the STL”.
Astrom served as the first deputy chief investigator ( Detlev Mehlis) on the UN International Independent Investigation Commission originally tasked to probe the Hariri assassination before the formation of the STL in 2009.
The STL was formed to try those involved in the Feb. 14, 2005, attack in Beirut that killed former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and 21 others. Trial is scheduled to begin on January 16.
Hariri dismisses allegations
Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri called the allegations against Hassan “part of the campaign to tarnish the image of the STL.”
“If the aim was another hysterical chapter of the campaign against the international tribunal as the trial date draws near, then we say to those who broadcast the interview that they missed such a chance… and that the date when justice will prevail has come,” Hariri said in a statement.
“Like the majority of the Lebanese, I found surprising and disgusting that some people would reach a point of political delirium and accuse a martyr of being involved in killing another martyr,” headded
“If the aim of repeating this nonsense once again is to raise tension among the Lebanese including the Hariri family, then this is an occasion to affirm once again that we consider Maj. Gen. Hassan as one of our own and he is our martyr as much as Rafik Hariri is,” Hariri said.
In October, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon announced that it had indicted Hassan Merhi for the assassination of former Premier Rafik Hariri, raising the number of Hezbollah members charged with the murder of former PM to 5.
In June 2011 the UN-backed court indicted four Hezbollah members—Mustafa Badreddine, 52, Salim Ayyash, 49, Hussein Anaissi, 39, and Assad Sabra, 36—for Hariri’s murder.