BEIRUT, Lebanon, Aug. 11 (UPI) — The four men indicted in the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri should surrender, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon said Thursday.
An open letter was posted on the tribunal’s Web site by Judge Antonio Cassese to inform the four men “of their rights and to urge them to participate in trial,” The (Beirut) Daily Star reported.
Hariri was killed in a massive truck bomb blast in Beirut.
Cassese, tribunal president, appealed to the suspects to “come before the tribunal. If you do not wish to come to the tribunal in person, the option might be available … of appearing by video-link, thus participating in the proceedings without physically coming to The Hague” in the Netherlands where the tribunal sits.
At minimum, the four should retain council and instruct them, he said.
“[Without] instructions from the accused it may prove harder for counsel appointed by the head of the tribunal’s defense office to make a convincing case for those charged by the prosecution,” Cassese explained.
On Tuesday, Lebanese officials told the tribunal that the four people indicted June hadn’t been arrested.
The suspects — Mustafa Amine Badreddine, Salim Jamil Ayyash, Hussein Hassan Oneissi and Assad Hassan Sabra — have links to Hezbollah, which has vowed that investigators would not arrest party members “even in 300 years.”