The resistance and the judiciary appeared to be on a collision course on Tuesday following a complaint by a Hizbollah official about the perceived leniency of sentences handed down to former members of the defunct South Lebanon Army militia, reported the Daily Star Wednesday.
The Lebanese English paper said that Chief Military Prosecutor Nasri Lahoud retorted that the courts were independent and should be treated with due respect after Sheikh Mohammed Kawtharani complained that Monday's sentences were too light and could upset security in the south.
Kawtharani, a member of Hizbollah’s politburo, was quoted by thw paper as telling the Islamic Republic's News Agency of Iran that the government was being "scandalously negligent in this respect by carrying out ceremonial trials for the collaborators."
A military tribunal began trying former SLA members on Monday and has already issued 84 sentences ranging from six months to five years in prison, as well as fines of LL100,000 to LL1.2 million. The judgments can be appealed at the Supreme Military Court. The trials are due to resume on Wednesday, said the daily.
On Tuesday, 64 former SLA members were questioned by three military investigating magistrates, who handed them all formal arrest warrants.
Speaking to the Voice of the People radio prosecutor Lahoud responded to Kawtharani's criticisms by warning that he would "prosecute people who comment on sentences handed down by the judiciary."
He also asked politicians to "keep the trials away from political rhetoric and oratory competitions."
On Tuesday, one Lebanese man and 11 women crossed the Israeli border and surrendered to Lebanese police of Naqoura, reported the paper. The majority were from Dibel, it said.
The man and one of the women were elderly and fled to Israel fearing reprisals because they used to get medical treatment there. The other women allegedly worked as housekeepers or hotel janitors in Israel.
The 12 were among some 7,000 members of the SLA and their families who fled to Israel last month fearing a backlash from resistance fighters, said Daily Star – Albawaba.com
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)