BEIRUT: Former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora demanded Friday the Special Tribunal for Lebanon probe former minister Mohammad Shatah’s assassination, saying the perpetrators were known.
"We demand and affirm the need to refer this crime to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon," Siniora said, reading a statement drafted by the March 14 coalition at former PM Saad Hariri's residence in Downtown Beirut.
Shatah was killed in a car bomb Friday morning along with five others on his way to the March 14 meeting at the Central House. At least 70 people were wounded in the explosion which occurred around 9:40 a.m. in the capital’s commercial district.
"I announce to the Lebanese with deep regret the passing of our martyred hero Dr. Mohammad Shatah who was killed this morning by criminals you are familiar with, you are thinking about, and you are pointing fingers at," Siniora, surrounded by March 14 officials and MPs, said in the televised address.
"The bloody message has been received and our answer to the world, the Arabs, residents of Tripoli and Beirut, the family of the martyr is this: Lebanon will remain the land of freedom, dignity, and coexistence," he said.
Siniora, the head of the Future parliamentary bloc, also said Shatah, a former ambassador to the U.S., joined the martyrs who he said were in confrontation with "known criminal[s] who the world is seeing and witnessing their crimes."
Addressing the Lebanese, Siniora urged them to remain courageous, saying Lebanon will remain the land of diversity.
"Lebanon will not be the place for killing and criminals ... Lebanon will survive," he said.
He also noted that the March 14 coalition's session will remain open to discuss the assassination.