Hariri murder: Key Lebanese suspect in hospital as Jumblatt slams Syrian security apparatus
A prominent Lebanese suspect in the killing of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri was hospitalised Wednesday suffering from heart problems, medical and judicial sources said.
According to AFP, General Raymond Azar, a former army intelligence chief, was being treated at the intensive care unit of a Beirut hospital. He was among four former security chiefs detained in earlier this year for the February 14 assassination of Hariri.
His lawyer, Naji Bustani, told reporters that the general was first taken to hospital in a town east of Beirut because of high blood pressure before being moved to the capital. Azar is close to Lebanon's pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud.
Meanwhile, Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt called allegations that the family of late Lebanese Premier Rafiq Hariri tried to wrongfully implicate Syria in the investigation into Hariri's assassination an attempt to undermine the case.
Jumblatt added that the claim, by former Syrian intelligence agent Hussam Tahir Hussam, was also meant to undermine the credibility of UN investigator Detlev Mehlis, the main investigator into the assasination of Lebanon's former leader on February 14.
Hussam, a main witness in the investigation, announced on Monday that Hariri's son had prompted him to testify falsely in return for payment.
Hussam also accused Jumblatt and Marwan Hamadeh, Lebanon's Telecommunications Minister, of bribing witnesses to testify falsely. The two have denied the charges.
"This political senility and this deception by the Syrian security apparatus is a laughable farce," Jumblatt said. "It seems they will use all means, even security, to shake up security [in Lebanon] to try to confuse the inquiry," according to Reuters.
Hussam's allegedly false testimony implicated several Syrian and Lebanese officials in the assassination.
Jumblatt became an outspoken critic of Syria's military presence in Lebanon after many years of supporting Syrian policy.
- Lebanon Druse leader Jumblatt fears may be ”next target” following Hariri assassination
- Syria asks UN to revise Hariri report following bribery charges
- Hariri: Jumblatt Wandered ‘Slightly from the Straight’ with Syria
- Hariri assassination: Chief investigator says President Lahoud's closest military aide is prime suspect
- Dramatic day in Beirut: Top security officials arrested in connection with Hariri murder