BEIRUT: Investigative Judge Riad Abu Ghayda set Feb. 4 as the date for questioning of Syrian official Ali Mamlouk over his alleged role in a plot to carry out terrorist attacks in Lebanon, judicial sources said Monday.
The sources told The Daily Star that a notice with Abu Ghayda’s decision was posted at the entrance to Beirut’s Military Tribunal after the judge considered Mamlouk’s place of residence as “unknown.”
They said Abu Ghayda also set Jan. 28 as a hearing date for police informer Milad Kfouri.
Kfouri will serve as a witness in the terror case allegedly spearheaded by former Information Minister Michel Samaha, the sources added.
Kfouri, who is reportedly out of the country for security reasons, coordinated with the Internal Security Forces Information Branch to secretly record Samaha’s remarks about terror plots he was hatching to carry out in north Lebanon.
A close ally to the Syrian regime, Samaha has been charged with plotting to carry out terrorist attacks in the country, as well as to assassinate religious and political figures. Similar charges were leveled against Mamlouk, head of Syria’s Intelligence. Samaha, who was rounded up at his home last year, was also charged with transporting explosives from Syria into Lebanon.
Separately, Sakhr Hashem, Samaha’s defense attorney, said that his client had the right to demand his release. “Samaha has transferred arms, just like those transporting arms every day from Lebanon to Syria, he has the right to ask to be released,” he told a television station in reference to reports of active arms smuggling across the border since the beginning of Syria’s unrest almost two years ago.
Hashem said that unlike other charges, it had only been proven that Samaha had moved explosives from Syria to Lebanon.
Hashem explained that Kfouri’s testimony would have a great effect on the course of investigation, as he was the only witness.