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Der Spiegel’s Journalist Stands by Hezbollah Report | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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London, Asharq Al-Awsat- Der Spiegel’s Erich Follath, the journalist behind the report implicating the Hezbollah organization in the assassination of former Prime Minster Rafik Hariri has stressed to Asharq Al-Awsat that he stands behind his report and that the documents cited in the germen publication’s report were “original.”

In a telephone interview with Asharq Al-Awsat Follath said, “The documents that I reviewed during preparation of my report were original, not copies.”

“I verified every word before publishing the report,” he added.

Follath said he visited Syria a few months ago and met with President Bashar al-Assad.

“That had nothing to do with the article published over the weekend,” he stressed.

Follath said he is a “free” journalist who takes into account the conscience of his profession.

He denied working for intelligence services, adding that he had “personally” criticized Israel a number of times for its violations of the rights of the Palestinian people in the occupied territories.

Follath said he was “happy” to be attacked by Hezbollah chief Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah.

He pointed that he had met senior Hezbollah officials and was “not surprised by Nasrallah’s attack, but was expecting it.”

He said Nasrallah’s assault had “improved his status,” adding that he is convinced of his report “today more than ever before.”

Der Spiegel said in its report, which it said was based on sources close to the tribunal and verified by internal documents, that the investigation had reached the conclusion about Hezbollah’s involvement about a month ago.

The report said that the assassins used eight cellular telephones bought on the same day in the northern city of Tripoli. One of them made the mistake of calling his girlfriend with one of the phones, revealing his identity.

The report also linked the explosives and the truck used in the attack to the Shiite militant group.