General Prosecutor Judge Samir Hammoud revealed that Salafist cleric Sheikh Ahmed al-Asir who was arrested yesterday at the airport will undergo a DNA test to confirm his identity after he had undergone a number of plastic surgery operations to alter his appearance, Asharq al-Awsat newspaper reported on Sunday.
Hammoud told the daily: “I asked the state commissioner to the military court to perform the test.”
Moreover, he said that an indictment had already been issued against Assir, which means that that his file is “complete” and it will only be a matter of time before he stands trial.
“A preliminary investigation is necessary however and a warrant should be based primarily on an interrogation of Assir,” Hammoud explained.
The trial will be public, he told Asharq al-Awsat.
Assir was detained at Beirut’s Rafik Hariri International Airport on Saturday as he was attempting to leave the country to Nigeria through Egypt.
The hardline anti-Hezbollah cleric is wanted for his involvement in the clashes against the army in the southern city of Sidon .
12 Lebanese soldiers were killed when they stormed a mosque complex belonging to Assir in the southern city of Sidon in 2013.
Assir’s supporters accused the army of siding with Hezbollah, which is fighting in Syria alongside President Bashar al-Assad against predominantly Sunni Muslim insurgents.
As the war in Syria escalated, Assir won support among some Sunnis in Lebanon by speaking out against Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah and organizing protests against Assad.
Assir was arrested inside the plane just before departing to Cairo according to security sources . He was carrying a fake Palestinian passport under the name of Rami Abdul Rahman Taleb according sources. He was accompanied by another person with fake passport under the name of Khaled Saidani
Hariri hails Assir’s arrest
Former Prime Minister and Future Movement leader MP Saad Hariri contacted Interior Minister Nohad Mashnouk and Director General of General Security Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim, who informed him of the details of Assir’s arrest . Hariri reportedly praised the vigilance shown by the General Security agents at the airport, and their success in foiling the escape attempt. He stressed the importance of the efforts exerted by the security and military legal agencies to protect national stability and pursue outlaws. He called on all Lebanese leaders to refrain from protecting criminals and armed gangs, whoever they are and to whichever group they belong.