STL postpones decision over Sayyed’s request for files


A public hearing was held today at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon headquarters in The Hague at the request of former General Security chief Maj. General Jamil Sayyed , who is seeking access to certain documents pertaining to his arrest   in 2005 as a suspect in the murder of Lebanon’s former PM Rafik Hariri.

On Monday, Sayyed rehearsed the public hearing with his lawyer Akram Azoury for more than three hours at the STL building on Dokter Van der Stamstraat 1 in Leidschendam.”

In his opening statement Azoury told the Pre-Trial Judge Daniel Fransen “Allow me to insist on the right of appeal because it is the most important right as without it, society would not have been established.”

Azoury added : ” We are not asking the court to judge any individual, but we want to determine whether we are able to acquire some information that can be useful elsewhere.”

Azoury continued: No investigations were carried out in Lebanon over false testimonies and all that Sayyed had presented before Lebanese courts was rejected. They were then referred to The Hague where the court announced it would not consider them either.”

Azoury told the court: ” It is necessary to remind everyone that the General was imprisoned and released without knowing the reasons for his detention and without being able to study his investigation file.”

After taking the witness stand Sayyed thanked the court for granting him a public hearing to look into his request.

Sayyed said the court session is not aimed at examining his “wrongful imprisonment” and remind the court that he is in the Hague because of the court’s decision which he called ” a public admission of the existence of false witnesses”.

STL released last year from jail Sayyed along with 3 other generals for lack of sufficient evidence. All 4 officers were arrested in 2005 as suspects in the Hariri murder based on orders from UN Special investigator Detlev Mehlis .

The 4 officers along with the Syrians were in charge of security when Hariri was assassinated in downtown Beirut on Feb. 14, 2005

Sayyed told the court that he was asked to be a false witness, but I refused.

I was told “either you hand over a victim or be the victim ”, he said

He added: “The existence of tens of false witnesses demonstrates that there is a conspiracy surrounding the tribunal.”

He continued: “Syria, like the rest of the world, did not sign any cooperation agreement with the court, so how can we come up with a witness from it?”

The STL Judge asked many questions during the hearing .

Then the judge suspended the public hearing for a half hour to allow Azoury and Sayyed, and representatives of the prosecution to prepare answers to questions he asked them.

After the break Sayyed told the Judge: “I hadn’t been able to access any of the records during the period of my arbitrary and unfair detention, and the tribunal hadn’t taken into account the 110 memos I filed with it during those four years.”

Following the hearing Judge Fransen, postponed to September the final decision on Sayyed’s request for access to certain documents .