Lebanon summons general on comments

Move comes after Jamil Sayyed, who spent four years in jail, launched a harsh attack on Saad Hariri and his government.

    Sayyed was among four military officers jailed without charge for Rafiq al-Hariri the 2005 assassination [EPA]

    A Lebanese general who called the country's prime minister, Saad Hariri, a liar and urged people to topple his government, has been summoned for questioning by the state, according to a judicial official.

    Brigadier-General Jamil Sayyed, who made the comments, was among four military officers who were jailed without charge for nearly four years for the 2005 assassination of Hariri's father, Rafiq al-Hariri. They were freed last year for lack of evidence.

    Said Mirza, the Lebanese prosecutor-general, summoned Sayyed for questioning over his "threats against the Lebanese state" and Hariri, the judicial official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to give official statements to the media.

    Speaking on Sunday, Sayyed accused Hariri of selling his father's blood to frame Syria for the killing, which at the time set off huge protests that led to the withdrawal of Syrian troops after nearly 30 years.

    'False witnesses'

    Many Lebanese regarded Sayyed and the three other military officers as the men through whom Syria exercised its control over Lebanon.

    Sayyed, who left Lebanon shortly after his remarks, also said Saad Hariri supported "false witnesses" who misled the investigation into the 2005 killing.

    He warned Saad Hariri that he must be held accountable or "I will do it someday with my own hands". Sayyed later said he meant he would get justice through the courts.

    "The Lebanese people must unite against this [government] and topple it, even if by force," he said.

    Al Jazeera's Rula Amin, in Beirut, said: "Sayyed is now pursuing the international tribunal to release statements by these witnesses to pursue this further.

    "He has already been to Damascus where he asked the judicial system there to pursue some of these witnesses as some of them are Syrians.

    "Some of the people Sayyed has been naming are very close to Saad Hariri and his attempt here is seen as very dangerous."

    Syrian connection

    Rafiq al-Hariri, a billionaire businessman and a former prime minister, was Lebanon's most prominent politician after the end of the 15-year civil war in 1990.

    Suspicion initially fell on Syria after the killing in February 2005, since al-Hariri had been seeking to weaken the country's domination of the country.

    Syria has denied having any role in the killing and last week, in a sweeping reversal, Saad Hariri said it was a mistake to blame Syria.

    Earlier this year, Sayyed asked the UN tribunal investigating al-Hariri's assassination to release his secret case file so that he might know who accused him.

    Sayyed travelled to Paris following his news conference on Sunday to await the court's decision, which is expected this month.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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