Lebanon News

Ex-Lebanese minister, Syrian general indicted in terror plot

Members of Police's Information Branch storm the apartment building where former Information Minister Michel Samaha lives in Ashrafieh, Lebanon on Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)

BEIRUT: A Lebanese judge recommended Wednesday the death penalty for former Information Minister Michel Samaha, a Syrian general and another holding the rank of colonel over a terror plot to destabilize Lebanon.

Military Investigative Judge Riad Abu Ghayda issued the indictment, which requests the death penalty for Samaha, Maj. Gen. Ali Mamlouk, the head of the Syrian National Security Bureau, and his aide, Col. Adnan, whose family name remains unknown.

The indictment charges the three men of holding a meeting under Mamlouk at the National Security office in the Syrian capital Damascus and orchestrating a plot to assassinate Syrian opposition figures and arms traffickers entering Syria from Lebanon.

According to the indictment, the Syrian officers handed Samaha explosives. It also charged Samaha of transporting the bombs in his car from Syria to Lebanon.

The former minister was also charged with summoning Lebanese police informer Milad Kfouri, handing him the explosives and ordering him to blow up Iftar gatherings in Lebanon.

“It’s all right: kill them,” Samaha was quoted as telling the police informer when the latter informed him that religious figures would be attending the Iftar dinners, according to the indictment.

A judicial source told The Daily Star Tuesday that once the indictment is made in the Samaha case, it will take months to get to the court due to judicial procedures.

The evidence, which includes audio recordings implicating Samaha in terror plots with officials from the Syrian regime, is still with the ISF Information Branch, an issue that Samaha’s lawyer argues impedes a fair trial.





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