Hariri assassination probe put on hold

June 29, 2007 at 4:31 PM
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BEIRUT, Lebanon, June 29 (UPI) -- The investigation into the 2005 assassination of a former Lebanese premier has been put on hold while courts decide whether to remove a judge from the case.

The probe is on hold pending a decision on whether Judge Elias Eid should be removed as investigating magistrate in the case of the assassination of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and 22 others, the Lebanon Daily Star reported Friday.

A request was filed Wednesday by Mohammad Mattar, a lawyer for the families of four Hariri bodyguards killed at Hariri's side, asking that Eid be removed from the case.

The request alleged that Eid intended to release former security officials Raymond Azar and Jamil al-Sayyed before the investigation into their alleged involvement in the assassination is completed. Mattar also claimed that Eid has "overly friendly relations" with lawyers representing four officers charged with being involved in the plot, the Daily Star said.

Mattar said the evidence indicates that concerns over Eid's ability to preside over the case without bias are "justified fears."

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