Lebanese PM vows not to capitulate following Hezbollah rhetoric over UN-backed probe into his father’s murder.
|Al-Hariri was killed along with 22 others in an explosion in Beirut in 2005 [EPA]|
The UN-backed Lebanon tribunal prosecutor has criticised a Canadian media report linking Hezbollah to the killing of Rafiq al-Hariri, the former prime minister.
Daniel Bellemare said on Tuesday that reports by Canadian public broadcaster CBC News could jeopardise lives and affect the investigation into al-Hariri’s assassination.
“The most serious impact of the CBC reports is that their broadcast may put people’s lives in jeopardy,” Bellemare said in a statement.
His office refused to comment on the accuracy of the allegations made by CBC.
In a documentary based on leaks, the broadcaster cited unidentified sources as saying UN investigators had evidence that “points overwhelmingly” to the involvement of Hezbollah members in the 2005 killing.
Farhan Haq, a UN spokesman, has also expressed concern that the tribunal’s investigation could be influenced by the report.
“Certainly leaks are matters of concern. We want to be able to ensure that the special tribunal on Lebanon can go about its work without hindrance or interference,” he said.
‘Analysing phone calls’
CBC News said on Sunday it had obtained mobile telephone and other telecommunications evidence which is at the core of the case.
It said that in 2007 the investigators asked a British firm to analyse telephone calls made in Lebanon in 2005.
“What the British analyst showed them [the UN investigators] was nothing less than the hit squad that had carried out the murder, or at least the phones they had been carrying at the time,” CBC News said.
Hezbollah said it had no comment on the CBC report.
The CBC report also said Lebanon’s head of police intelligence was possibly involved in the murder. This allegation was dismissed on Tuesday by al-Hariri’s son Saad, who is currently Lebanon’s prime minister.
The Hague-based tribunal was set up in the aftermath of the Beirut bombing that killed al-Hariri and 22 others on February 14, 2005.
Several media reports have said that the UN tribunal is close to announcing indictments against Hezbollah members for the killing.
Hezbollah, which is part of Lebanon’s unity government, has repeatedly denied any involvement in the killing, and has called for a boycott of the tribunal’s work.
Lebanese politicians have expressed fears of a new explosion of violence if Hezbollah members are indicted.
Michael Williams, UN special co-ordinator for Lebanon, said last week that he expected indictments to be issued “in the coming months.”
Al-Hariri’s assassination plunged Lebanon into its worst crisis since the 1975-90 civil war, with Sunni-Shia tensions threatening to boil over into a civil war.