MP Nuhad al-Mashnouq , a member of PM Saad Hariri’s al-Mustaqbal parliamentary bloc condemned on Saturday during an interview with LBC the recent Syrian arrest warrants against key Lebanese figures describing them as a “blatant political assault” on the country.
Mashnouq urged Prime Minister Saad Hariri to resign because he said the warrants are an attack against the dignity of the prime minister, urging him not to form a new government except based on an understanding on major issues.
His comment comes after the Syrian judiciary issued 33 arrest warrants last Sunday for judges, officers, politicians and journalists of Lebanese, Arab and other nationalities in the case brought by former Lebanese General Security chief Jamil as-Sayyed.
In December 2009, Sayyed filed a lawsuit in Damascus against various defendants whom he alleges were involved in a conspiracy of false testimonies against him.
Sayyed and 3 other generals were detained from 2005 to 2009 on suspicion of involvement in former PM Rafik Hariri’s murder. In April 2009, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon ordered their release without charges due to insufficient evidence. STL prosecutor made it clear at the time they were set free that their release did not mean they are Innocent and that once more evidence is available they could be back in jail.
“PM Hariri should resign from his post and a new cabinet should not be formed unless it is capable of efficiently governing the country,” Mashnouq said.
He also said that Hariri and his cabinet must not be assaulted as it is currently the case by March 8 figures, adding that the 2008 May Events will not reoccur.
Mashnouq told LBC that the real problem in Lebanon are the assassinations that have taken place, and not the “lie” of false witnesses as some individuals are trying to make it look. He is referring to March 8 attacks against the STL.
The Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) is an international criminal tribunal for the prosecution, under international law, of criminal acts relating to the assassination of Lebanon’s former PM Rafik Hariri, who was killed on February 14, 2005 in a car bomb in downtown Beirut . The court is based in Leidschendam-Voorburg, near The Hague.
Mashnouq also urged those who are threatening the eruption of strife to commit and approve Justice Minister Ibrahim Najjar’s report on the false witnesses file.
Tension escalated in Lebanon after reports said that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon will soon issue its indictment into the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Last July, Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said that the tribunal is “an Israeli project” that will indict Hezbollah members. Nasrallah accused Israel of being behind Hariri’s assassination but refused to provide the evidence to STL to support his claim.
There are fears that, should the court indict Hezbollah members, it could lead to clashes similar to those of the 2008 May Events.