BEIRUT: Military Investigative Judge Riyad Abu Ghayda Monday issued an arrest warrant in absentia for pro-Assad figure Ali Eid, head of the Arab Democratic Party, for failing to appear in court and aiding a terror suspect, a judicial source said.
Eid, an Alawite figure in the northern city of Tripoli, has failed on two occasions to show up for questioning by the Military Tribunal.
His lawyer, Hiam Eid, has attended the sessions on Eid’s behalf, citing medical reasons for her client’s absence.
Ghayda’s arrest warrant against Eid was over his alleged involvement in helping a suspect in last year’s bombings in Tripoli flee into Syria, the source added.
Military Prosecutor Saqr Saqr charged Eid late last year as well as ADP member Ahmad Mohammad Ali with “hiding” a wanted suspect in the Aug. 23 car bombings in Tripoli and smuggling him to Syria.
Saqr has also rejected a request by Eid's lawyer to revoke a search warrant against him.
Ahmad Mohammad Ali, Eid’s driver, reportedly confessed to attempting to smuggle Ahmad Merhi – a key suspect in the case – over the border into Syria on orders of the ADP chief.
Investigation into the bombings indicated that some of those charged in the Tripoli attack have links to the ADP and Syrian army intelligence.
Rifaat Eid, the Arab Democratic Party politburo chief, told The Daily Star Monday that the party will respond to the arrest warrant.
“We will solve this issue through the judiciary. Of course we object to the [arrest] warrant because we believe that we were oppressed and that this case has been fabricated against us, but since there is no direct accusation that Ali Eid was involved in the two explosions, we have 200 evidences to prove that the accusation [that Eid] assisted Ahmad Merhi to flee to Syria is untrue and we are ready to present them to the relevant judicial authorities,” he said.
“We know who we are, and we know that we are not related to Merhi’s escape and so it is easy to prove this,” Eid stressed.
Eid also pointed a finger at Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi, whom he accused of meddling in the case.
“We have no doubt that Rifi had a hand in this measure, since he is the person who fabricated the whole case against us when he was on top of the Internal Security Forces and the Information Branch,” he said.
“We consider this warrant one round in a long war against those who fabricated this case, and it’s an easy one to win,” Eid concluded.
The car bombings outside the Al-Taqwa and Salam mosques killed at least 47 people and wounded more than 100. Merhi is one of Al-Taqwa mosque bombing suspects.
Eid, a political leader in the Alawite community and an ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad, has refused to appear before the court, arguing that the accusations against him were fabricated by the Internal Security Forces’ Information Branch.