A video of former minister Michel Samaha wa aired on Sunday by Lebanese TV networks in which he was shown giving his testimony to interrogators in the wake of his 2012 arrest over a plot to stage bombings and assassinations in Lebanon in collaboration with a senior Syrian security official.
The video comes three days after Samaha was released from jail on bail under a controversial Military Court ruling.
“I went Monday to Damascus and I met with ( Syrian officer ) Adnan and he told me that they (the explosives) would be ready the next day,” Samaha tells the interrogators in the video.
He then reveals that he went back to the Syrian capital a few days later, accompanied by his personal driver Fares Barakat who drove another car.
Syrian security agent Adnan then took the car and filled it with the explosives and other bomb-making material, Samaha told the interrogators.
Several videos had emerged in the past, showing Samaha discussing the attacks plot with Milad Kfoury, who has been described as a Lebanese security services informer.
Samaha, who was information minister from 1992 to 1995, was released in exchange for a bail payment of 150 million Lebanese pounds ( $100,000). Under his bail conditions, he was barred from leaving the country for at least one year, speaking to the press or using social media.
The ex-minister was arrested in August 2012 and charged with attempting to carry out “terrorist acts” over allegations that he and Syrian security services chief Ali Mamluk transported explosives and planned attacks and assassinations of political and religious figures in Lebanon.
Samaha was sentenced in May 2015 to four-and-half years in prison, but in June Lebanon’s Cassation Court nullified the verdict and ordered a retrial.
Samaha, a former adviser to Syrian President Bashar Assad, admitted during his trial that he had transported the explosives from Syria for use in attacks in Lebanon. But he argued he should be acquitted because he was a victim of entrapment by informant Kfoury.
Samaha’s release sparked outrage in Lebanon against the military court, most notably among the March 14 alliance.
Demonstrators on Friday blocked a number of roads in Beirut in protest against the release, while the March 14 youth groups staged a rally in front of Samaha’s residence in Ashrafieh.
On the other hand Hezbollah reportedly celebrated Samaha’s release .
Hezbollah ‘s parliamentary bloc chief MP Mohammed Raad defended the release on bail on Monday of ex-minister Samaha but slammed as “malicious, temperamental and non-objective” the statements that criticized the release.
“The furious and systematic statements that today rejected the Lebanese judiciary’s decision to release ex-minister Michel Samaha are an expression of distemper, malice and lack of objectivity,” Raad said in a press release.
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