File - A pre-trial conference for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013. (The Daily Star/STL, HO)
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Nearly a decade after the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, Syria's alleged role in Lebanon's worst political crime in recent history is set once again to take center stage.The Special Tribunal for Lebanon decided Friday to allow prosecutors to present evidence on the breakdown of relations between late Hariri and Syrian President Bashar Assad, paving the way for the first serious, courtroom examination of Syria's alleged role in the run-up to the massive bombing. No Syrian official has ever been charged in connection with the Hariri assassination, and prosecutors have not indicated so far that they intend to formally accuse any officials."Bashar Assad had direct contact with the people that killed martyr Rafik Hariri," Machnouk told a security conference at the Phoenicia Hotel.Prosecutors say the political evidence will provide important context to the case and to the telecommunications evidence that shows the movements of the suspects and their tracking of Hariri, and allege that the suspects acted in tandem with political events. Defense lawyers argued that prosecutors have essentially come up with a new theory of the case that implicated Syria, which should have been made clear in the indictment.
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