Syria seeks Khaddam's arrest

A military prosecutor has issued an arrest warrant against Abdual-Halim Khaddam, the former Syrian vice-president, for allegedly inciting the United States to invade Syria, a lawyer has said.

    Khaddam has called for the Syrian regime to be toppled

    Hussam al-Deen Habash said that military prosecutor Abdul-Razzak Homsi issued the in-absentia arrest warrant against Khaddam on Monday, and that the warrant was sent to the Interpol office in Damascus for distribution to all Interpol offices in the world.

    Khaddam, a top member of the Syrian ruling elite for nearly 30 years, has lived in self-exile in France since last year. Members of his family have joined him there.

    Khaddam, 73, provoked an outcry in December when he told the Arab satellite channel, Al-Arabiya, that Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, had threatened Rafiq al-Hariri months before the former Lebanese prime minister was assassinated in a massive car explosion in Beirut on February 14, 2005.

    Khaddam repeated the charge in nearly a dozen television and newspaper interviews.

    Syria accusation

    Syria denied the charges, while the Syrian state media denounced Khaddam, and Syrian legislators called for his trial as a traitor.

    Khaddam already faces a summons for himself, his wife and 23 family members - including sons, daughters and grandchildren - to face questioning about corruption charges in a court in the northern Syrian town of Banias on June 12.

    Habash said he has filed a separate lawsuit against Khaddam for providing "pretexts" to a foreign country to invade Syria, and for establishing contacts with Israel. He did not elaborate.

    After a conference of Syrian opposition leaders in London, Khaddam on Monday described al-Assad's regime as oppressive and corrupt, and called for him to be toppled. He urged the Syrian people to oust al-Assad using acts of civil disobedience.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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