BEIRUT: A man convicted of having ties to Al-Qaeda and who claimed to have been part of a group that allegedly killed former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005 was released on bail, a judicial source told The Daily Star over the weekend.
The Military Tribunal released Rabih Nehmeh as he had reached the end of his seven-year sentence in Roumieh prison, the source said. Nehmeh was part of the 13-member cell which claimed responsibility for the 2005 assassination of Hariri and included Syrian, Lebanese and Saudi nationals.
Following their arrest, reports emerged that Syrian intelligence had hired the group to mislead the investigation into the Feb.14 bombing attack.
The Lebanese authorities referred the case of so-called “Cell of 13” to the U.N. International Independent Investigation Commission at the time, but the commission disregarded Nehmeh’s confessions as baseless and not supported by facts on the ground.
The Lebanese Military Tribunal then charged and convicted the group of carrying out terrorist attacks and being linked to Al-Qaeda.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on August 25, 2014, on page 4.