Lebanon News

STL defense casts doubt over evidence in Hariri killing

Defense lawyers for Salim Ayyash at the Special Tribunal of Lebanon, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012. (The Daily Star/STL, HO)

THE HAGUE: The lawyer defending Mustafa Badreddine, the alleged “apex” of an assassination squad that killed former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, cast doubt Monday on the telecommunications evidence used to indict his client, and said the bombing that killed Hariri may not have been a suicide attack.

In an half-hour opening statement, Antoine Korkmaz said the prosecution had failed to identify the actual operatives who allegedly carried out the assassination.

“Those accused are not the operatives of the bombing - those people remain entirely unknown,” he said. “The intermediaries between the operatives, the mastermind and the sponsor have by no means been identified, even obliquely.”

Korkmaz was referring to the “red network,” a group of telephones identified by the prosecution as having been used in carrying out the assassination, whose members remain unidentified other than Salim Ayyash, one of the four named suspects.

Korkmaz also criticised the prosecution for not identifying a motive for the suspects to carry out the attack.

“This lack of motive of any identified mastermind makes the actions that they are accused of totally inexplicable,” he said.

Korkmaz also raised the possibility that the bombing that killed Hariri was an underground bombing, a theory that has been abandoned for years by investigators, who said that a Mitsubishi Canter van laden with two tons of explosives was detonated by a suicide bomber.

Korkmaz said that no footage of the moment of the explosion has survived despite the presence of many CCTV cameras in the area, saying such footage has disappeared.

He spoke on the third day of trial at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, the first time defense lawyers have outlined their case in court.





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