Lebanese State Commissioner refuses to release Information Minister turned terror suspect
Former Lebanese intelligence minister Michel Samaha (Image capture from YouTube video)
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State Commissioner to the Military Court Judge Saqr Saqr rejected on Wednesday a request to release former Information Minister Michel Samaha over the seriousness of his crime.
Saqr asked the military court to reject the request made by Samaha's defense lawyer Sakher Hashem a week ago on claims that the crime was only based on plots.
Samaha was arrested in August 2012 for plotting terrorist attacks and transporting explosives.
His trial has been postponed to December 3 because of the absence of his alleged co-conspirator Gen. Ali Mamlouk, a Syrian security chief, who is believed to be in Syria.
Samaha had been expected to face the first session of his trial before the military court, but the judge announced a delay so that Mamlouk can report to the court.
The two face charges of "transporting explosives from Syria to Lebanon in an attempt to assassinate Lebanese political and religious leaders.”
If convicted, they face the death penalty.
A Syrian colonel known only by his first name as Adnan also plotted the attacks with them.
According to the indictment, the explosives that were found in Samaha's car were delivered by Adnan to the ex-minister in Syria with the approval of Mamlouk.
The Lebanese judiciary issued an arrest warrant for Mamlouk and Adnan and sent Syria a formal notification of the warrant and charges in February, but received no response.
In the event of a non-response, Lebanese law allows for the trial against Samaha to proceed with Mamlouk being tried in absentia, but the court has not so far suggested it would take that approach.
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