BEIRUT: The second round of interrogation of former Information Minister Michel Samaha for his alleged role in a terror case was adjourned Thursday over a protest by his defense attorney.
Judicial sources told The Daily Star that the interrogation session was halted less than an hour after the session convened around 11:30 a.m.
They said Military Judge Riad Abu Ghida postponed the session after Samaha’s attorney Malek Sayyed protested over what he said was the failure to implement Article 77 of the Criminal Procedural Law.
Article 77 stipulates that the “investigating judge must take into account the principle of the defendant's free will during interrogation and ensure that the defendant's testimony is not the result of psychological pressure or duress.
Abu Ghida postponed the session until after Eid al-Fitr, but no specific date has been set.
The sources said that Abu Ghida argued that Sayyed and Samaha’s other attorney, Youssef Finyanous – who did not attend Thursday’s session – should have made this objection during the first session.
Nevertheless, Abu Ghida referred Sayyed’s proposal to the military prosecution to make its recommendations.
Wearing blue jeans and a striped t-shirt, Samaha looked in "good physical condition" when he arrived at Abu Ghida's office before midday Thursday. He was brought from the Reihanieh Military Police prison in Mount Lebanon.
On Monday, Abu Ghida interrogated Samaha who, along with a high-ranking Syrian army official, was formally charged in a terror plot to destabilize Lebanon.
In his confession to the Internal Security Forces Information Branch shortly after his arrest Aug. 10, Samaha said Syrian President Bashar Assad wanted bomb attacks in Lebanon.
Undercover agent Milad Kfouri was identified as having provided incriminating footage in the Samaha case. Kfouri was reportedly flown outside the country just before the police raids on Samaha’s residences in Beirut's Ashrafieh and Metn’s Khanshara-Jwar, over fears for his safety.