BEIRUT: Rashad Salameh, a lawyer for the witnesses whose names were leaked to the media in the case of the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, called on the Special Tribunal for Lebanon Wednesday to remove their testimonies, both written and recorded, from the court’s files.
Salameh also requested prosecutors not call on the witnesses whose identity had been leaked to appear before the court. He called on the tribunal to recognize his clients’ right to seek damages.
Salameh filed a lawsuit with the tribunal in September 2012 on behalf of 13 Lebanese concerning their leaked names.
A website called “Journalists for the Truth” had published a list of names of the alleged witnesses alongside instructions given to them by the STL, which is investigating the 2005 assassination of Hariri. Many received threats both privately and in the media.
Head of the tribunal David Baragwanath had vowed last year to punish those responsible for leaking the names of the tribunal’s witnesses.
Present at Salameh’s news conference were caretaker State Minister Mohammad Fneish and caretaker Agriculture Minister Hussein Hajj Hasan, as well as a number of MPs and former ministers.
Salameh said the documents should have been kept secret by the investigation, but instead had become public knowledge.
“What’s worse is that they contain recordings of prominent political persons in the Lebanese arena,” Salameh said.
Salameh added that the violation of the confidentiality rule had cast serious doubt on the court’s standards, especially if the breach was a means to achieve local and regional political ends.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on January 16, 2014, on page 3.