OTV: Samaha retracted earlier statements


OTV reported on Monday that former Lebanese Information Minister Michel Samaha had retracted the statements he made during the earlier stages of the investigation.

Samaha was interrogated at the Military Tribunal on Monday over charges of forming a terror group to commit crimes in Lebanon.

Hezbollah’s Al Manar reported that ” Samaha said during interrogation on Monday that what he said last week was under psychological pressure and explosives that were in his car were to be placed on the northern border to prevent smuggling of weapons and people to Syria.”

Samaha as accompanied by his defense attorneys Malek al-Sayyed and Youssef Finianos and interrogated by First Military Investigation Judge Riyad Abou Ghaida.

LBC television had also reported that informer Milad Kfouri may be summoned to the tribunal to make his testimony in the affair.

On Thursday, Lebanese security forces arrested Samaha in a case linked to a bombing plan aimed to create a strife in Lebanon

On Saturday, Judge Sami Sader charged Samaha and two Syrian army officers with setting up an armed group to incite sectarian strife through “terror attacks.”

Following his arrest, several reports revealed that Samaha confessed under interrogation that he had transferred “explosives from Syria to Lebanon in order to carry out bombings in North Lebanon, particularly in the area of Akkar, with Syria’s knowledge.”

“This is what Bashar wants,” Lebanese security sources quoted Samaha as saying of Syrian President Bashar Assad, in a video shot by a Lebanese undercover agent for the Internal Security Forces Information Branch.

He was referring to the bombing plan that was meant to be carried out in north Lebanon.

The security sources also said that, in the video, Samaha can be seen and heard as saying that Syrian Maj. Gen. Ali Mamlouk had handed him the bombs in addition to $170,000 cash that was meant to be distributed to would-be executors of the bombing plan in Lebanon.

Samaha is known for being a staunch ally of the Syrian regime and Hezbollah even years before he was appointed a minister in the cabinet. He was among several pro-Syrian Lebanese officials who were sanctioned in 2007 by the United States for “contributing to political and economic instability in Lebanon.”