Hariri assassination: Chief investigator says President Lahoud's closest military aide is prime suspect
The chief of a UN investigation of the assassination of former Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri has named presidential guard chief, Mustafa Hamdan, as a suspect in the case. "On the basis of evidence gathered, we have a suspect, Mustafa Hamdan," Detlev Mehlis told the French newspaper Le Figaro in an interview published on Wednesday. Brig. Gen. Mustafa Hamdan is considered President Lahoud's closest military aide. Following Hariri's killing the Lebanese opposition demanded that Hamdan be sacked.
"He was one of the first persons questioned because we had information that he is one of those who gave orders to change the scene of the crime, just after the attack. Why was this cleaned up? Deliberately? Through negligence? Both? I have quite a clear idea. But we are still in an investigation stage. I can't tell you any more."
Hariri and 19 other people were killed in a massive February 14 blast on the Beirut seafront.
Various quarters in and outside Lebanon accused the Syrian regime of being behind Hariri's assassination.
"We have searched his (Hamdan's) home and his office. We have questioned him for more than nine hours. He has cooperated," conveyed Mehlis. He disclosed the UN team would also "very soon" question Rostom Ghazale, the head of Syrian intelligence services in Lebanon at the time of the attack.
"Consequently, as we have said since the start of our mission, any person concerned with security in Lebanon at the time must be questioned."
Mehlis also said his team had also received "good information" on the case from Israeli authorities.