Tribunal best venue, U.S. tells Syria

WASHINGTON, Oct. 5 (UPI) -- The U.N.-backed tribunal for Lebanon is the best venue for taking legal action in the 2005 assassination of a former prime minister, Washington said.

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon is investigating the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.


Damascus and Hezbollah are widely believed to have played a role in the slaying. Saad Hariri, the slain prime minister's son and current head of state, recently absolved Syria and Hezbollah says it believes the STL and the assassination are part of an Israeli plot.

A lawyer for Brig. Gen. Jamil Sayyed led an effort from Damascus to issue 33 arrest warrants against Lebanese and other Arab nationals in connection with the Hariri plot.

P.J. Crowley, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department, said prosecuting the matter was an issue best left to the special tribunal.

"We continue to believe that Syria and other countries should respect the sovereignty of the Lebanese state," he added in his statements during his regular news briefing.

Sayyed was held for four years in connection to the assassination. He believes the current prime minister was plotting against him.


Detlev Mehlis, a German prosecutor who led the investigation into the 2005 assassination, is among those mentioned in the Syrian probe.

He suggested Syrian intelligence officials played a role in the assassination.

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