Lebanon requests evidence supporting the recent indictment issued by a US-backed UN tribunal probing the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Premier Rafiq Hariri.
On Thursday, Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati said in a televised speech that “indictments, despite of their source, are not conclusive and that any accusations need solid evidence that cannot be doubted,” Reuters reported.
“Every individual accused is innocent until proven guilty,” he asserted.
The controversial Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), which has been investigating Hariri’s death for the past four years under the auspices of Washington, submitted a sealed indictment and arrest warrants to the Lebanese Justice Ministry earlier on Thursday.
The pro-Western Future Television owned by the Future Movement of the victim’s son Sa’ad Hariri said that the indictment had named four members of the Lebanese resistance movement of Hezbollah.
The ministry, however, is yet to make the contents public.
Rafiq Hariri was killed along with more than 20 others in a massive car bombing in the Lebanese capital, Beirut on February 14, 2005.
Reports issued long before the indictment’s submission implicated Hezbollah and Syria.
Hezbollah has strictly rejected any involvement in the incident and called the tribunal an “American-Israeli project.”
In an August 2010 public speech, Hezbollah’s Secretary General Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah presented evidence proving that Israel had been behind the assassination.
Nasrallah’s televised address featured video footage taken by Israeli unmanned aerial vehicles, as well as recorded confessions by Israeli fifth columnists, substantiating that Tel Aviv had masterminded the killing.
Damascus has likewise denied any role and released similar evidence exposing Tel Aviv’s fingerprint.
Previous to its issuance, analysts had warned that a potential verdict against Hezbollah or Syria was a means of sowing discord within the Lebanese ranks.
Sa’ad Hariri, though, has hailed the release of the indictment as a “historic moment.”
“After many years of patience, of struggle… today, we witness a historic moment in Lebanese politics, justice and security,” he has said.
During his address, Mikati urged the country to “to stand in the way of those aiming to target our nation.”