Prosecutor to appeal TV channel's aquittal in Hariri case

GMT 23:14 2015 Tuesday ,29 September

Arab Today, arab today Prosecutor to appeal TV channel's aquittal in Hariri case

Billboard with a portrait of slain Lebanese PM Rafiq Hariri
The Hague - AFP

The prosecutor of a special court set up to try the killers of former Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri said Tuesday he will appeal a decision to clear a TV station accused of passing on information about protected witnesses.

The Hague-based Special Tribunal for Lebanon had last week acquitted Lebanon's Al-Jadeed TV station, which was accused of publishing details of alleged witnesses in the highly sensitive trial of five men accused of murdering Hariri in a massive Beirut car bombing in 2005.

The court said the witnesses were identifiable thanks to the channel's programmes but ruled that they did not suffer any harm as a consequence.

Set up in 2007, the court is the only international ad hoc tribunal with the jurisdiction to try an act of terror.

It is specifically trying suspects charged with the murder of Hariri, killed with 22 others including a suicide bomber in a huge bombing on the Beirut waterfront on February 14, 2005.

Al-Jadeed -- which had been critical of Hariri -- broadcast five programmes in August 2012 on the alleged witnesses due to testify at the trial.

Prosecutor Kenneth Scott said: "We anticipate... appealing the sentence," adding "Our mandate and efforts to protect the tribunal's integrity, the administration of justice and actual, purported and potential witnesses continue."

Five suspected members of the Iran-backed powerful Lebanese Shiite militia, Hezbollah, have been indicted by the court.

Their trial in absentia opened in January 2014, but despite international warrants for their arrest, the five are yet to appear in court.

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