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Bellemare: The Hariri Case Goes Far Beyond the Four Generals | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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London, Asharq Al-Awsat and Agencies – The International Tribunal’s Chief Prosecutor Daniel Bellemare stated that he had no objections to the release of the four Lebanese generals held in Lebanon over the assasination of former Prime Minister Rafik al Hariri. He stated that the investigation is ongoing and “goes far beyond” the embroilment or non-embroilment of the four generals in the Hariri assassination.

Despite the order issued by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon to release the four Lebanese generals, MP Saad al Hariri, leader of the Lebanese Future Movement affirmed that he was not disappointed by the decision, saying that it was evidence that the Tribunal had started work.

The Hague-based tribunal issued its ruling, which it said should have immediate effect after Bellemare had requested the generals’ release.

Saad al Hariri welcomed the court’s decision and said it showed the Tribunal had no political agenda. “I … don’t feel one iota of disappointment or fear over the fate of the international tribunal. What has happened is a clear declaration that the international tribunal has started work and it will reveal the truth,” Hariri said on television.

The four generals are; former head of General Security Major General Jamil al-Sayyed, former Chief of Police Major General Ali Hajj, Former Chief of Military Intelligence Brigadier General Raymond Azar, and Former Commander of the Republican Guard General Mustafa Hamdan.

The four generals have been unconditionally released from Roumieh prison and no restrictions have been placed upon their movement. The generals will be permitted to travel abroad if they wish, although Akram Azouri, General Jamil al-Sayyed’s lawyer told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Generals have no plans to travel at this time.

The General Prosecutor’s spokeswoman Radhia Achouri told Asharq Al-Awsat that the General Prosecutor [Daniel Bellemare] “remains committed to what he said previously that he will not submit any indictment until he is fully satisfied that he has sufficient evidence.”

Hezbollah, which organized a celebration for the release of Former General Jamil al-Sayyed outside of his house, believes that the March 14 coalition was behind the unjust arrest of the generals. Hezbollah released a statement saying, “Just as we demanded that Israel hand over the maps of the minefields following its withdrawal from Lebanon; we demand that the March 14 coalition, after the Tribunal’s decision [to release the Generals], hands over a map of all the minefields [i.e. false evidences] within the International Tribunal.”

After his release from prison, General al-Sayyed accused Saad Al Hariri of being “misleading” and said that he was “politically bartering with [the death of] his father.” Al-Sayyed also said that it was up to Saad al Hariri to “bring to account his informants and politicians who lied to him and to the Tribunal.”

Major-General Jamil al-Sayyed, addressing a crowd outside his home after his release, criticized the Lebanese judiciary for holding them without charge.

“We don’t want vengeance, we just want those who committed this crime of arbitrary political detention to be held accountable,” he said.

In London, Lebanese President Michel Suleiman told a press conference that the decision to release the four generals is an indication that the Tribunal has been working in a transparent way, and is a sign that the entire truth will be revealed.

Hariri and 22 other people were killed by a suicide truck bomb in Beirut on Feb. 14, 2005. Some Lebanese politicians, including the murdered politician’s son Saad al-Hariri, have blamed the attack on Syria.

Damascus denied responsibility but the killing caused a worldwide outcry that forced an end to Syria’s 29-year military presence in Lebanon.