BEIRUT

Lubnan

STL fails to decide on Merhi case joinder

A poster of Hassan Habib Merhi released by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. (The Daily Star/STL, HO)

BEIRUT: The Special Tribunal for Lebanon failed Tuesday to make a decision on whether to combine the case of the fifth Hezbollah suspect with the trial of four others accused of involvement in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

The Trial Chamber held the hearing “on the joinder of the [Hassan] Merhi case with the Ayyash et al. case,” the STL said on its Twitter account.

“The [Trial Chamber] judges offered Merhi counsel to attend start of trial on 16 Jan as observers, but no decision yet on joining Merhi and Ayyash et al,” the U.N.-backed court tweeted.

Merhi was accused last year of complicity in the Feb. 14, 2005, assassination of Hariri. Four Hezbollah members were indicted in 2012 of involvement in the killing.

Earlier this month, the defense team for the four suspects argued joining the cases would require an adjournment of the trial, which is due to begin Jan. 16.

The prosecution has asked that Merhi be included in the main trial. He is accused of being one of the leaders of the assassination team, working as part of the “green network” of telephones that allegedly coordinated the Hariri attack. He is also accused of coordinating a false claim of responsibility intended to mislead investigators.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on January 15, 2014, on page 2.

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