BEIRUT: Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri vowed Friday that the killers of Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hasan, the chief the Internal Security Forces’ Information Branch slain in a car bomb a year ago, would be punished sooner or later.
In a recorded interview broadcast by Future Television on the first anniversary of Hasan’s assassination, Hariri, who has been living out of Lebanon for more than two years for security reasons, promised to return home soon. He said his return to Lebanon had been delayed after Hasan’s assassination.
“Many don’t want me to return, but I will. I hope that Lebanon will again be as it was, and as Rafik Hariri, Wissam al-Hasan, Pierre Amin Gemayel and all the martyrs of the Cedar Revolution wanted it to be,” Hariri said, referring to his father, former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, who was killed in a 2005 car bombing, and March 14 politicians slain for opposing Syria’s domination of Lebanon.
Hariri said Hasan was assassinated because of his role in uncovering the terror network led by Michel Samaha and Ali Mamlouk, and the Information Branch’s achievements in uncovering several Israeli espionage networks, as well as terrorist plots against the country.
Hariri underlined his determination to uncover and prosecute Hasan’s murderers and those behind them.
“We always called for justice and for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon regarding the assassination of [former] Premier Rafik Hariri, and now we have the same demands regarding the assassination of Brigadier General al-Hasan,” he said. “We have full confidence in the tribunal, and no one should think that those who assassinated him will get away with it no matter what.”
Hariri said that Hasan’s assassination in a car bombing in the Christian neighborhood of Ashrafieh on Oct. 19 last year crossed many red lines.
“He was targeted because of his belief in the path of Rafik Hariri and because of his success and great achievements at the head of the Information Branch, whether in uncovering the Mamlouk-Samaha network or in pursuing and arresting several Israeli and terrorist networks,” Hariri said.
“We know who their friends are, and who killed him, and they will be punished sooner or later although they feel very strong today,” he added.
Former Information Minister Michel Salam, a longtime ally of the Syrian leadership, along with Syrian intelligence official Ali Mamlouk were charged by a Lebanese military judge last year with plotting terrorist attacks and assassinations in Lebanon.