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STL defense says Lebanon has failed to provide necessary information

  • The defence council of the U.N. Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) (front row, L to R) R. Maison, Pauline Baranes, S. Codde and Antoine Korkmaz attend the opening of the public hearing at the court in Leidschendam, near The Hague June 13, 2012. (REUTERS/Robert Vos/Pool)

BEIRUT: The government has repeatedly failed to provide requested information, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon’s defense counsel said Friday. In messages published by the STL’s Twitter account, the defense team criticized the prosecution’s delay in disclosing material related to the trial.

During a status conference, the defense counsel for Assad Sabra, one of four accused of involvement in the 2005 killing of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, said Lebanon failed to comply with requests for information.

The counsel said that Sabra’s defense team has repeatedly sought documents and other information from the government deemed essential for the case.

“The Lebanese government has failed to provide any of the requested information,” the counsel was quoted as saying on the STL’s Twitter feed, adding that, “The Defence for Mr. Sabra has repeatedly sought documents and other information from Lebanon which is essential to preparing its case.”

However, the “Prosecution acknowledges there is more disclosure that needs to be completed,” according to the STL.

Pre-trial Judge Daniel Fransen is presiding over a one-day status conference to discuss preparations for the trial, which is tentatively scheduled for March 25, 2013.

Sabra, along with three other members of Hezbollah, was indicted in June of last year by the U.N.-backed court in the attack that killed Hariri and 22 others. The four men remain at large and have had no contact with the attorneys appointed to them by the court.

At the status conference, the defense asked Fransen to order Lebanese authorities to provide requested information without delay.

Last week, the defense counsel accused the United States of political interference in the court’s proceedings after the U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Mustafa Badreddine, one of the accused, for allegedly supporting Hezbollah’s “terrorist activities.”

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on September 29, 2012, on page 3.
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