BEIRUT: Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri vowed Friday that the killers of Wissam al-Hasan, a senior security chief assassinated last year in the Lebanese capital, would not go unpunished.
Hariri, in a pre-recorded message aired during a Future Television program on the first anniversary of Hasan’s assassination, also voiced belief his return to Lebanon would be soon.
“I want to reassure his family and everybody that those who killed Wissam al-Hasan will pay the price in a Lebanese court because we do trust [our judicial system],” Hariri, a close friend of Hasan, said.
“I want to pursue those who committed the crime and their bosses,” he said.
On Oct. 19, 2012, Hasan, who served as the head of the Internal Security Forces Information Branch, was killed when a car bomb exploded near his vehicle in the Beirut district of Ashrafieh in an attack that also killed two others and wounded dozens.
The assassination was the first since a series of car explosions killed at least 12 Lebanese politicians and officers between 2004 and 2008.
In his brief interview with the local television, Hariri said those behind Hasan’s killing were “known.”
The March 14 coalition, headed by Hariri, has accused the Syrian government of being behind the assassination and the regime’s “tools” in Lebanon of carrying out the bombing.
“The purpose [behind the assassination], the person, the regime or the personalities that killed Hasan did so for a reason because Wissam uncovered the Mamlouk-Samaha plot,” he said.
“We know who they are, who their friends are and sooner or later they will receive their punishment,” Hariri, the head of the Future Movement, added.
He also said Hasan had faced “the most heinous of political and media campaigns” because he was a man of the state.
“We always called for justice and for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon regarding the assassination of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, and now we have the same demands regarding the assassination of Brig. Gen. Al-Hassan,” he said.
As for his return to Lebanon, Hariri said: “I will return to Lebanon ... the decision to return had been made but Hasan's assassination demonstrated once again that Lebanese symbols were the target of criminals which is why [that decision] was postponed.”
“Although many would not like me to return, I will do so soon,” he added.