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U.N. cautions with Hariri probe files

Oct. 7, 2010 at 3:29 PM

BEIRUT, Lebanon, Oct. 7 (UPI) -- The United Nations calls on the Special Tribunal for Lebanon to exercise caution when releasing sensitive information, a legal adviser said.

Brig. Gen. Jamil Sayyed, jailed for four years in connection to the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, said he believes Saad Hariri, the current prime minister and son of Rafik, paid witnesses to testify against him.

The United Nations-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon said in September that Sayyed could have "limited" access "to certain materials in the Hariri case."

Patricia O'Brien, U.N. undersecretary-general for legal affairs, was quoted by Lebanon's Daily Star newspaper as saying that the United Nations was cautious about the release of sensitive documents related to the Hariri case.

"The U.N. respectfully requests that in considering Sayyed's application for access to his criminal file, and in any other proceedings, the tribunal, prosecutors and defense counsel … refrain from disclosing, giving access to and tendering in evidence any U.N. documents without prior authorization of the U.N.," she was quoted as saying.

The Daily Star said Sayyed may be restricted to viewing the files in private and limited in speaking about the information to a third party.

Lebanon is bracing for possible indictments in the STL that could finger Hezbollah for the assassination.

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