Tribunal sees videotape of Hariri convoy before 2005 explosion

Jan. 23, 2014 at 5:58 PM
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THE HAGUE, Netherlands, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Security camera videotape just before the explosion that killed former Lebanon Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was played Thursday for an international tribunal.

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon, sitting in The Hague, Netherlands, must decide if five members of Hezbollah were involved in Hariri's assassination. Four are being tried in absentia, the (Beirut) Daily Star reported.

Footage from a security camera at an HSBC bank shows what is alleged to be a Mitsubishi Canter van being driven very slowly along the street in Beirut where Hariri's convoy was about to pass. A minute later, the convoy goes by and then, soon after, the image is obliterated by a dust cloud.

Cameras at the bank also captured pedestrians reacting to the enormous explosion and a bright flash of light.

Prosecutors say the Mitsubishi van was loaded with 2 tons of explosive. Hariri and 21 other people were killed on Feb. 14, 2005.

The trial began last week with opening statements from both sides that concluded Monday. Thursday was the second day of testimony, the Daily Star said.

Robyn Fraser, an expert witness, testified that the van appeared to be the same one captured by other cameras at the Phoenicia Hotel.

Prosecutors say they have evidence that members of Hezbollah bought a Mitsubishi Canter van. Defense lawyers plan to object that the van seen on the cameras was a Mitsubishi, the Star said.

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