File - The Judges Walid Akoum, Janet Nosworthy, David Re, Micheline Braidy and Nicola Lettier (LtoR) in the courtroom of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon in The Hague, The Netherlands, January 16 , 2014. REUTERS/Toussaint Kluiters/United Photos/POOL
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Former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was planning a "peaceful coup" against Syrian influence in Lebanon prior to his assassination, his economic adviser and political ally MP Ghazi Youssef told the Special Tribunal for Lebanon Tuesday.Peaceful or not, the Syrian authorities considered Hariri's plan to be an attempted coup, Youssef told the court.Salame, Youssef recalled, pled with Hariri to be careful and to assume the threat against him was credible.Youssef's testimony is part of the "political evidence" being presented before the U.N.-backed tribunal tasked with prosecuting those responsible for killing Hariri and 21 others. Through the testimony of a number of Hariri's political allies and confidantes, the prosecution has sought to highlight the increasingly strained relations between the former prime minister and the pro-Syrian security apparatus in Lebanon in the months leading up to his assassination.
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