The public hearing looking into former Major General Jamil Sayyed’s demand to see the evidence that led to his arrest as a suspect in the assassination of the late Prime Minsiter Rafik Hariri is underway.
The Special Tribunal for Lebanon tribunal Pre-trial judge Daniel Fransen set Friday January 14, 2011 as the hearing date at the courtroom of the tribunal for Sayyed over his bid to access the STL files related to his jailing .
This comes after the Appeals Chamber of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon issued a unanimous opinion last November rejecting prosecutor Daniel Bellemare’s appeal of the Fransen’s decision to allow the hearing
According to an STL press release last November , “the Appeals Chamber also found that the STL has jurisdiction to consider Sayyed’s request and determined that Sayyed has legal grounds to bring this application before the Tribunal. “
Sayyed, former director of security services (along with 3 other generals) was detained from 2005 to 2009 on suspicion of involvement in former PM Rafik Hariri’s murder. In April 2009, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL ) 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.
“The applicant and the prosecution will have 20 minutes each to present their arguments”, according to Fransen’s order.
The general, who claims to have been the victim of a “grand conspiracy” involving false testimony, seeks access to his criminal file for use in legal proceedings in Lebanon.
Sayyed , backed by Hezbollah and its allies, have accused security officials, politicians and judges close to the former premier’s son, Prime Minister Saad Hariri, of having “fabricated ” evidence to implicate them in the assassination.
A Lebanese judge ordered the general placed in temporary detention in August 2005 on an arrest warrant issued at the request of Judge Detlev Mehlis, the first commissioner of an international, UN-created commission of inquiry into the deaths of Hariri and 22 others in a car bomb blast in Beirut on February 14, 2005.
Update: Following the initial hearing STL Prosecutor Bellemare’s office has stated : Sayyed is demanding thousands of documents and we are in great need of a deep discussion on this matter. A middle ground should be reached to maintain secrecy and the plaintiff’s right to access the documents.
Sayyed said : A U.N.-backed tribunal cannot deal with the past five years regarding the conspiracy of false witnesses as if nothing has happened. He stressed that ” the issue of false witnesses is not Jamil Sayyed’s personal issue anymore, it has become a national issue and it is affecting a nation and a society at the moment in Lebanon.”