Lebanon’s Judicial Sources Deny Former FM Faces Probe for Alleged Israeli Links

Published August 30th, 2001 - 02:00 GMT

Lebanese judicial sources on Wednesday denied "unfounded" rumors that an investigation was being planned into former foreign minister Fares Boueiz for allegedly holding contacts with Israel, reported the Daily Star.  

The comments came after various media reports discussed the possibility of bringing Boueiz, a Kesrouan MP, in for questioning. 

A recent wave of arrests of ani-Syrian Christian activists was also related to alleged Israeli contacts, and nearly caused a political crisis in Lebanon.  

The Arabic newspaper Al Kifah Al Arabi said Wednesday that Antoine Bassil, who is being investigated for allegedly establishing contacts with the Jewish state, mentioned the name of the former minister and current MP during questioning, said the paper.  

Bassil reportedly stated that a politician had asked him to facilitate contacts with Uri Lubrani, who was responsible for coordinating Israel's occupation of the south.  

Sawt Al Shaab radio identified the MP as Boueiz, prompting the former minister to decry "stupid and naive accusations launched (against him) by ghosts," a traditional reference to the security agencies.  

But a security source refuted Boueiz' assertions, saying that the "ghosts" that the MP was referring to had offered him considerable support recently, in an apparent reference to last year's parliamentary elections.  

The same source said rumors concerning the possible prosecution of Boueiz were spread by political forces seeking to push the MP into rebelling against the political establishment.  

The judicial source affirmed that even if Boueiz's name came up during the investigation with Bassil, it would still be insufficient to build a case against Boueiz.  

State Prosecutor Adnan Addoum, who visited Speaker Nabih Berri in Parliament Monday, is believed to have informed Berri on the results of the investigations, including the Boueiz issue, the paper added.  

He reportedly did not ask for the MP to be stripped of his parliamentary immunity and was allegedly content to see the matter drop.  

Nonetheless, Berri asked to be kept informed about the results of the investigations.  

For his part, Boueiz reportedly complained to Berri about what he considered to be "a plot" against him and was apparently satisfied with the speaker's support, who asked him to "take it easy," according to the paper.  

Speaking after the meeting, Boueiz asserted that there were "political implications" to the accusations being leveled against him.  

He said that the media report "contradicted the state prosecutor's affirmations" that he was the only authority to provide information on investigations.  

Denying having tried to establish any contact with Israeli officials, Boueiz linked the "false" rumors to his recent political stances. In particular he referred to his public opposition to the arrests of anti-Syrian activists and his refusal to endorse a draft law amending the criminal procedures legislation.  

"They were not pleased with my appearance at the bar association's headquarters, where students demonstrated against the detentions," Boueiz said, implicitly referring to intelligence bodies.  

Boueiz said he would file charges against both Sawt al-Shaab and Al Kifah Al Arabi, according to the paper -Albawaba.com 


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