Beirut & Damascus- Hussam Taher Hussam, identified by Mehlis as a former Syrian intelligence agent in Lebanon, said yesterday that the Hariri family paid him to implicate Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's brother 'Maher' and brother-in-law 'Assef'.
Syria now wants German prosecutor Detlev Mehlis to revise his report on the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri to reflect a Hussam 's new statement
"It is our hope that Mr. Mehlis will take into consideration these recent revelations," Fayssal Mekdad, Syria's ambassador to the UN, said in an interview today. "He has full authority to do this and we hope he will. This is clear proof that people were misleading him."
The UN probe confirmed that Hussam was a witness who had voluntarily approached the commission in the resort of Monteverde, east of Beirut and offered to give a testimony, identifying himself as a Syrian intelligence officer. Hussam is one out of 500 witnesses that were questioned in the investigation.
The UN statement said the Syrian national had repeatedly expressed concern on his safety and the safety of his family for offering the information.
A UN statement released in Beirut said the investigation "does not offer, and has never offered or provided, any compensation in exchange for information".
A spokesman for the Hariri family denied Hussam's statements.
"This claim is fabricated. It is a lie and it is baseless," spokesman Hani Hammoud told Hariri-owned Future Television in Beirut.
The interrogation of the 5 Syrian officers will start today in Vienna. This is according to the agreement reached between Riad Al Daoudi, Legal advisor of Syria's Ministry of Foreign affairs and Detlev Mehlis, Chief UN Investigator of Hariri's murder. According to reports circulating in Lebanon, Assef Shawkat, Assad's brother-in-law is one of the 5.
Syria always claimed that it is innocent. It won't be long before Mehlis finds out in Vienna.
Many witnesses usually retract their stories. In the case of Hussam, many observers who saw him on TV reported to Ya Libnan that they didn't believe his story.
Syria has been aggressively embarking on an image change. This image change seems to include the discrediting of Mehlis and his report.
This is not the first time Syria and its Lebanese allies try to discredit Mehlis. But the 15 members of the UN security council praised Mehlis and his professional capabilities. Similarly the Lebanese PM Siniora and all those that seem to care about the murder of former PM Rafik Hariri hold Mehlis in extremely high regard and that is why they will again request the UN to extend his mission beyond Dec. 15.
Source: Ya Libnan, Local media and agencies
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