It is a misconception to think that the sole man convicted for the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri acted alone, a spokesperson for the UN-backed court that issued the judgment said Monday.
Olga Kavran, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon’s head of outreach, said that “many misperceptions have appeared in the media” about the verdict issued by the trial chamber on the case last week.
That chamber found Hezbollah member Salim Jamil Ayyash guilty on five charges related to his role in the assassination of Hariri in 2005, and acquitted three other Hezbollah accomplices.
Yet although the chamber could not convict the three alleged accomplices in the crime due to a lack of evidence, Kavran noted on Twitter that many were involved in the assassination.
“Ayyash did not act alone: more than 20 individuals used four different interconnected, coordinated and covert mobile phone networks. Ayyash was the user of a phone in each of the networks. One of the networks included the late Mr. Badreddine, a senior Hezbollah operative,” she tweeted.
Kavran also pushed back at claims that the alleged accomplices Hassan Habib Merhi, Hussein Hassan Oneissi and Assad Hassan Sabra had no role to play in the plot.
“Merhi, Oneissi and Sabra were not 'found innocent.' They were found 'not guilty of all counts charged in the indictment.' There is a difference,” she wrote.
While the STL trial chamber noted that the Syrian regime and Hezbollah "may have had motives to eliminate Mr. Hariri and his political allies,” Kavran clarified that “motive is not a component of the crime according to Lebanese law, which is applied by the STL.”
“The judgment demonstrates that an independent, impartial, thorough and transparent judicial process is possible and necessary. Where the judges received sufficient evidence, they convicted, and where they did not, they acquitted,” she added.
The trial chamber last Tuesday said that it was satisfied “beyond reasonable doubt" that Ayyash possessed "one of six mobiles used by the assassination team.” Judges said that there was enough evidence to show that Ayyash was the ringleader in the network of mobile phone users that tracked Hariri before his assassination.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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