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Tribunal Publishes Indictment In Hariri Murder

Billboards show assassinated Lebanese former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri on the highway in the southern port city of Sidon.
The special court investigating the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri has unsealed the indictment against four members of the Iranian-backed Shi'ite militia Hizballah for alleged involvement in the 2005 killing.

The suspects are Mustafa Amine Badreddine, a senior Hizballah figure, as well as Salim Jamil Ayyash, Hussein Hassan Oneissi, and Assad Hassan Sabra.

Prosecutors acknowledge in the indictment's preamble that they have no direct evidence linking the suspects to the deadly truck bombing, despite years of painstaking investigations.

The publication comes after the Netherlands-based Special Tribunal for Lebanon said last week that Lebanese authorities had been unable to arrest the four suspects or serve them with their indictments.

"The pretrial judge has ruled that revealing part of the indictment or the indictment itself will hopefully help in the arrest of the accused," tribunal spokesman Martin Youssef said, "and also reaching out to the accused because, of course, having trials without the accused present -- the tribunal can do that -- but to be able to hear their narrative, to be able to have them participate in the trial is, of course, something that we in the tribunal hope will happen."

Hizballah has denied involvement and said it would never turn over the suspects, but they could be tried in absentia.

Former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, the son of Rafik Hariri, on August 17 urged Hizballah to turn over the four suspects.

compiled from agency reports