Lawmaker in al-Hariri probe released

A former Lebanese lawmaker who was one of five people questioned in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri, has been released.

    Nasser Qandil surrendered for questioning on Tuesday

    Nasser Qandil, a staunch defender of Syria's influence in

    Lebanon who surrendered on Tuesday at the request of UN

    investigators probing the 14 February killing, was released at

    1.30am on Wednesday but refused to comment on the probe.

    "I don't want to talk about this issue," Qandil said

    . "The information I gave [the

    investigators] belongs to the probe.

    "I will only say that the cheap political and media

    exploitation is being done by some Lebanese parties and the [

    UN]commission has nothing to do with it," the former legislator said.

    He was apparently referring to anti-Syrian groups who hailed the

    detention of former security chiefs for questioning in al-

    Hariri's killing.

    The United Nations on Tuesday named Qandil and four

    pro-Syrian generals as suspects in the massive Beirut

    bombing that killed al-Hariri and 20 others.

    The detentions

    were the first major break in the crime that transformed


    Generals detained

    German prosecutor Detlev Mehlis
    (L) is leading the UN investigation

    Many Lebanese opposed to Syria's control over its smaller neighbour

    blamed Damascus and its Lebanese allies for the

    assassination. Both have denied the claims.

    The Lebanese government, acting at the request of the

    international body, detained three of the former Lebanese

    generals for questioning on Tuesday.

    Major-General Jamil Sayyed, the former chief of General Security; Major-General Ali Hajj, the former director-general of the Internal Security Forces and Brigadier-General Raymond Azar, the former director-general of military intelligence, were detained at their homes.

    A fourth, Presidential Guards Brigade commander Brigadier-General

    Mustafa Hamdan, surrendered for interrogation.

    Qandil, who was in Syria when police went to his Beirut

    house, later returned by car and was escorted by two police

    vehicles from the Lebanese border to the capital.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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