Lebanon News

Lawyer accuses Moallem of killing civilians, forming terror groups

People walk by the hospital of the American University of Beirut, where Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem receives medical treatment, in Beirut, Lebanon, Friday March 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

BEIRUT: Lawyer Tareq Shandab has filed a lawsuit with the public prosecutor against Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem over several accusations, including the killing of civilians and forming terrorist organizations.

Moallem is recovering in a Beirut hospital after undergoing open-heart surgery, sources familiar with his condition told The Daily Star Friday.

The sources said on condition of anonymity that Moallem was admitted to the American University of Beirut Medical Center’s intensive care unit late Thursday. They added that Moallem, 73, was taken to hospital under tight security measures.

Moallem has been Syria’s top diplomat since 2006 and led the Syrian government delegation at peace talks in Geneva.

According to the lawsuit, Shandab accused Moallem of committing murders, inciting the killing of Lebanese, forming terrorist organizations in Lebanon aiming to attack the Lebanese people and their properties, and attempting to disrupt civil peace and stirring sectarian strife, among other crimes.

“Moallem is one of the top officials of the terrorist Syrian regime which for the past three years has been killing Lebanese citizens with air raids on the villages of Arsal and villages in the north that has led to the killing of dozens of people and the destruction of many houses. Moallem adopted these operations at that time and justified them, which proves that these criminal acts were being executed with his knowledge,” Shandab said.

According to Shandab, Moallem “is one of the top officials of the terrorist regime who planned the explosions of the Al-Salam and Al-Taqwa Mosques in Tripoli in 2013, which led to the killing of more than 50 Lebanese martyrs. The confessions of the people who were arrested for involvement in these two explosions confirmed that officers from the Syrian regime intelligence are behind these explosions.”

“The criminal actions of Walid Moallem, which he committed with top officials of his regime, are crimes according to Lebanese law and international criminal law,” he added.

Shandab argued that diplomatic and political immunity can’t be imposed in such cases according to international law.

Shandab asked the public prosecution to “arrest Moallem, interrogate him and refer him to the investigative judge after prosecuting him for murder, terrorism, breaching Lebanese sovereignty, forming terrorist gangs to kill Lebanese civilians and sending arms and explosives to Lebanese gangs in order to cause civil strife and provoke sectarian sentiments by urging Lebanese to fight each other.”

This isn’t the first time Shandab has filed a suit against the Syrian regime. In 2012 he filed a lawsuit against Syrian President Bashar Assad at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, accusing him of committing crimes against humanity, genocide, war crimes and murder.

He holds a doctorate in international criminal law and has stated that his accusations were strictly legal, denying political affiliation.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on March 18, 2014, on page 3.




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