Lebanon News

Judge requests footage, recordings of MP Saqr

Future Movement MP Oqab Saqr speaks during a press conference in Istanbul, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012. (The Daily Star/Stringer)

BEIRUT: Lebanon's Prosecutor Judge Hatem Madi requested Monday footage and audio recordings of Future MP Oqab Saqr to investigate the MP’s rebuttal of his involvement in arms transfers to Syrian rebels, judicial sources told The Daily Star.

Madi requested the footage of an interview the lawmaker did for New TV aired Sunday, a press conference broadcast on Future TV Thursday and the three audiotapes aired by Lebanon’s OTV late November, the sources said.

According to the sources, Madi’s request aims at verifying Saqr’s claims that he was not involved in military activity with rebels, after OTV and Al-Akhbar newspaper published audio recordings in which he can be heard discussing supplying weapons to alleged Syrian rebels.

In the recordings he is heard talking to a man whom Al-Akhbar describes as a leader of a militant group in the Syrian opposition to make arrangements for the drop-off of weapons to rebels.

Last week, Madi tasked the Central Criminal Investigations Bureau with examining the audio recordings broadcast by the two media outlets, both of which are pro-March 8.

Saqr, who admitted in comments to pan Arab Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat that it was him speaking in the recordings, said the tapes were doctored to implicate him in a military role of which he is innocent.

In the press conference held from Turkey, Ankara, and broadcast on pro-March 14 Future TV Thursday, Saqr challenged the Syrian government and his Lebanese rivals to prove that he was indeed providing rebels with weapons.

Saqr said the aid he offered to Syrian rebels was only humanitarian, such as providing milk and food to Syrian refugees.

The lawmaker also said that, on instructions of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, he was engaged in negotiations with rebels to secure the release of Lebanese hostages held in Syria.

In his New TV interview, Saqr challenged Al-Akhbar newspaper to publish what he said were the remainder of the recordings and to reveal the source that provided them with the tapes.

“I am prepared to face trial if the recordings I made public were proven not to be genuine,” Saqr said.





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