BEIRUT

Lubnan

Abu Adass naive but not guilty: STL prosecution

This undated file picture shows Ahmed Abu Adas. (The Daily Star/HO)

THE HAGUE: Ahmad Abu Adass is the name of a man who appeared in a false claim of responsibility aired on Al-Jazeera shortly after the Hariri killing, on behalf of a group called Nusra and Jihad in Greater Syria.

The prosecution alleged in Thursday’s hearing that Abu Adass had nothing to do with the assassination, and outlined some details that paint a portrait of his life.

Abu Adass was 22 years old in February 2005, and was a Sunni Palestinian living in the Al-Tariq al-Jadideh neighborhood in Beirut. He did not have a mobile phone.

He was described as “generous but a little naive” by acquaintances.

His links to extremist groups and his role in the attack has been the subject of intense speculation.

The prosecution detailed the encounter by Abu Adass with a man calling himself “Mohammad” who attended prayers at the Arab University Mosque but was not taking part in them, and who told Abu Adass he was a recent convert who sought to learn about Islam and marry a Muslim wife.

The man, the prosecution alleged, was actually Hussein Oneissi, one of the four members of Hezbollah accused of complicity in the Hariri assassination.

Oneissi allegedly helped orchestrate the false claim of responsibility by Abu Adass. The prosecution says the suicide bomber who carried out the attack against Rafik Hariri was not Abu Adass, based on the DNA evidence gathered from the scene. The identity of the suicide bomber remains unknown, and the prosecution says there is no evidence to suggest Abu Adass was involved at all in the assassination.

Abu Adass disappeared after meeting more than once with Oneissi, never to be heard from again, the prosecution claims.

The meeting between Abu Adass and “Mohammad” coincided with activity in the vicinity of the mosque by a phone belonging to Oneissi, who was in turn part of the “purple” network of telephones involved in planning the false claim of responsibility for the Hariri attack.

Shortly after the explosion, Oneissi and another suspect, Assad Sabra, acting together, called Reuters and Al-Jazeera in Beirut, according to the prosecution.

Then Sabra called Al-Jazeera again and provided it with information on where to find a videotape that had been placed in a tree at ESCWA Square in Beirut and included the Abu Adass admission. The video was aired later that day.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on January 17, 2014, on page 2.

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Summary

The prosecution detailed the encounter by Abu Adass with a man calling himself "Mohammad" who attended prayers at the Arab University Mosque but was not taking part in them, and who told Abu Adass he was a recent convert who sought to learn about Islam and marry a Muslim wife.

Oneissi allegedly helped orchestrate the false claim of responsibility by Abu Adass.

The identity of the suicide bomber remains unknown, and the prosecution says there is no evidence to suggest Abu Adass was involved at all in the assassination.

Abu Adass disappeared after meeting more than once with Oneissi, never to be heard from again, the prosecution claims.


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