Al-Hayat newspaper sources reported on Sunday that Hezbollah rejected a suggestion to hold a meeting with the head of the Defense Office of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon Francois Roux aimed at studying the possibility of confronting the indictment.
Al-Hayat sources explained that the meeting would have explained to the party leadership the seriousness of the Defense’s work, as well as the possibility of overturning the accusations against Hezbollah members indicted in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
The sources added that the meeting would have demonstrated to Hezbollah that Roux is serious in his mission in defending the accused, pointing out that he had also enlisted the help of prominent lawyers to assist him in his mission.
The sources revealed that the suggestion by Roux was made way before the indictment in the STL was issued .
STL confirmed the indictments in the assassination of Lebanon’s former PM Hariri on June 30. An STL delegation met with Lebanon’s state prosecutor Said Mirza and handed him a copy of the Lebanon portion of the indictment and the arrest warrants. Two of the suspects Mustafa Badreddine and Salim Ayyash are reportedly senior members of the Iranian and Syrian-backed Hezbollah while the other two Hezbollah members Hassan Aneissy, also known as Hassan Issa, and Assad Sabra played a supporting role in the execution of the assassination.
Lebanon has 30 days to find and arrest the suspects but Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah said Saturday that the party would not cooperate with the tribunal.
“No Lebanese government will be able to carry out any arrests whether in 30 days, 30 years or even 300 years.”
“We reject the Special Tribunal for Lebanon along with each and every void accusation it issues, which to us is the equivalent of an attack against Hezbollah,” Nasrallah added in his hour-long speech.
Nasrallah admitted all the four suspects are Hezbollah members:
“The suspects named in the indictment are brothers who have an honorable history in resisting Israeli occupation.” He said
The whereabouts of the four remain unknown but a report yesterday indicated that they are no longer in Lebanon and one of them has already been killed. No details were available on who got killed and by whom and the country they fled too. A report last week indicated that the 2 senior Hezbollah members are already in Tehran.
Professor Ghassan Karam commented about Nasrallah’s defiance in an article in Ya Libnan: ” Nasrallah has acted as judge, jury and executioner. He has determined that his people are not guilty and that no one should dream of arresting any of them”.
“My only advice to those charged is that they should consult a lawyer as soon as possible…Now is the time for defense.” Roux, the head of the Defense Office of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon said last week in addressing the four Hezbollah members who were indicted in the 2005 assassination of the former Lebanese PM