Siniora to STL: Hariri crime scene tampered with The Daily Star/Mar. 25, 2015 /BEIRUT: Former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora accused Lebanese and Syrian security services Wednesday of tampering with the crime scene of Former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri’s assassination. “The [Lebanese-Syrian] security apparatus manipulated the sight of the blast on the day Prime Minister Hariri was assassinated,” Siniora said during his third day of testimony before the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. He also said that the security apparatus “bullied” Lebanese politicians and the judiciary and “violated the dignities and freedoms” of Lebanese citizens. Siniora began offering testimony to the Hague-based court Monday, detailing a strained relationship between former premier Rafik Hariri and Syria. In his second day of testimony before the STL Tuesday, Siniora told the court that Hariri had confided to him that he had uncovered multiple assassination plots against him orchestrated by Hezbollah.
Saniora before STL: Lebanese-Syrian Security System Meddled in Judiciary, Govt. Work
Naharnet/25.03.15/Head of the Mustaqbal bloc MP Fouad Saniora resumed on Wednesday his testimony at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon by being cross-examined by the Defense that focused on the role the Syrian and Lebanese security systems played in Lebanon during the 1990s and up until the assassination of former Premier Rafik Hariri in 2005. Saniora said: “The security system meddled in the judiciary and hindered the work of the Lebanese government institutions.” He explained that Syrian forces first entered Lebanon to restore order in the country during the 1975-90 civil war. The violations committed by Syria in Lebanon soon followed, he added.
“Ties between two neighboring countries should be based on respecting the independence, freedom, and sovereignty of each side,” stressed Saniora. “The Lebanese-Syrian security system was comprised of a number of individuals and tools that enjoyed close ties with the Syrian security apparatus,” he continued. “Security agencies are essential for any country,” he added, but the Lebanese-Syrian system abused its power and “hindered the path of justice by failing to tackle past assassinations in Lebanon,” he remarked. It also tampered with the Hariri crime scene, which was confirmed by various investigation teams, noted head of the Mustaqbal bloc. The Lebanese-Syrian security system also began to target those close to Hariri, Saniora recalled. It even went so far as to fabricate accusations against individuals in order to imprison them, which it did, he explained. “Later, the judiciary ordered their release because they were innocent all along,” Saniora said, while adding that there are dozens of examples of the violations committed by the security system at the time.
Furthermore, the Defense touched on the issue of the United Nations Security Council resolution 1559 and whether Hariri played a role in it. Saniora declared: “Neither Hariri nor his team were part of devising the resolution.”
Issued in September 2004, resolution 1559 calls upon all foreign forces to withdraw from Lebanon and for the disbanding and disarmament of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias. On Tuesday, the MP revealed that Hariri had confided to him that he had discovered several assassination attempts by Hizbullah against him. He told prosecutors that Hariri had spoken to him of his concerns about his personal security around the end of 2003 or the beginning of 2004. Five Hizbullah members have been charged with plotting Hariri’s February 14, 2005 assassination in a massive explosion at the Beirut seafront, but have not been arrested. Their trial in absentia began in January 2014 and is ongoing. Hizbullah denies involvement in the murder and the group’s leader, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, has denounced the court as a conspiracy by his archenemies — the U.S. and Israel.