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STL denies slain ISF chief linked to Hariri killing
File - Status Conference in the Ayyash et al. case, in the Hague, Friday, Sept. 28, 2012. (The Daily Star/STL, HO)
File - Status Conference in the Ayyash et al. case, in the Hague, Friday, Sept. 28, 2012. (The Daily Star/STL, HO)
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BEIRUT: The prosecutor at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon disavowed Friday allegations against former ISF Information Branch chief Wissam al-Hasan that he was involved in the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

In a statement on the STL’s Twitter account, the prosecutor said Bo Astrom, a former investigator who said Hasan’s absence from Hariri’s convoy on the day he was assassinated was suspicious, had never worked for the STL, and that his views did not represent those of the office of the prosecutor.

“The Office of the Prosecutor would like to emphasize that Mr. Bo Astrom has never worked for the Office of the Prosecutor at the STL,” the court said on its Twitter feed.

“The personal views expressed recently by Mr. Astrom do not reflect or represent the position of the Prosecutor,” the statement added.

Though it was not stated explicitly, the statement confirms that the prosecution does not consider Hasan, who was assassinated in October last year, as a suspect.

Bo Astrom, a former investigator at the U.N. International Independent Investigation Commission, was a member of the UNIIIC under Detlev Mehlis, its first head. The body probed the assassination of Hariri prior to the establishment of the STL.

In an interview by Al-Jadeed TV that was aired Tuesday, Astrom said it was the only occasion that Hasan did not join Hariri’s convoy.

Astrom said Hasan told investigators he had to be absent because he had to take an examination at a university. But Astrom said he was not convinced by Hasan’s alibi. He added that Hasan told the person who replaced him in the convoy to take the ill-fated route.

The STL is tasked with bringing to justice those involved in the Feb. 14, 2005, attack in Beirut that killed Hariri and 22 others. Trial is scheduled to begin in January.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on December 14, 2013, on page 2.
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