Sealed indictment in Hariri tribunal

Dec. 7, 2010 at 3:00 PM
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BEIRUT, Lebanon, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- It may be several months before indictments on the slaying of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri are known publicly, a tribunal spokesman said.

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon is expected to submit indictments to a pretrial judge, possibly in the coming weeks. Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah said he expects members of his resistance movement will be indicted but dismissed the STL as an Israel conspiracy meant to end his organization.

Crispin Thorold, a spokesman for the tribunal, told Lebanon's Daily Star newspaper that though an indictment was pending, it could be months before information is made public.

"Do not expect to get information about the content of the indictment," he told the newspaper.

Judges working for the tribunal are expected to get requests from prosecutors to keep the indictment sealed.

Herman von Hebel, acting registrar for the STL, told the Lebanese newspaper that news of a pending indictment was overblown.

"Sometimes I get the impression that the indictment is the final determination of who's responsible for the killing of Hariri," he said. "An indictment is really only the beginning of a process."

Hariri was killed in a massive bombing in Beirut in 2005. Several European news agencies report that cell phone records point to Hezbollah, though its leaders claim to have evidence to suggest Israel was involved.

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