Hariri praises STL sentencing of Hezbollah members
The two Hezbollah members, Hassan Merhi and Hussein Oneissi, were previously acquitted in 2020
By News Desk - June 17 2022

(Photo credit: Lebanon Files)

Head of the Future Movement party and former Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri praised the decision issued by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) on 16 June to sentence two Hezbollah members to life imprisonment for their alleged role in the assassination of his father, Rafiq Hariri in 2005.

“After the guilty conviction of Salim Ayyash in the assassination of martyr Rafiq Hariri […] the Appeals Chamber of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon unanimously sentenced two other Hezbollah members, Hassan Merhi and Hussein Oneissi, to life imprisonment,” Hariri said via his Twitter account.

Hariri said the sentence reflected the harshest punishment stipulated in the statute, and that it clearly condemned Hezbollah as the party responsible for organizing the killing.

“Hezbollah,” Saad Hariri said, “cannot evade the responsibility of … the punishment against the accused,” Hariri went on to say, adding that “history will not be merciful.”

On 18 August 2020, the STL found only Salim Ayyash of the four accused Hezbollah members guilty, sentencing him in absentia to life in prison.

The court acquitted the other three, including Merhi and Oneissi.

“There is no evidence that the Hezbollah leadership had any involvement in Mr Hariri’s murder and there is no direct evidence of Syrian involvement,” STL Judge David Re said at the time.

However, in March this year, the acquittals for Merhi and Oneissi were reversed, and both were found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Hezbollah has not provided details on the whereabouts of the accused members, but has maintained their innocence.

In a speech by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah in 2020, the resistance leader said that the party does “not feel concerned by STL decisions,” and that “if our brothers are unjustly sentenced, as we expect, we will maintain their innocence.”

MP Jamil Al-Sayyed, the former head of Lebanon’s General Security Directorate, who was one of four military officers falsely implicated and imprisoned for the assassination of Rafiq Hariri, addressed Saad Hariri via Twitter on 16 June:

“The Lebanese will not forget that you and your team and the International Commission of Inquiry brought false witnesses, and accused and unjustly arrested four officers for four years.”

Over the years, many Lebanese have referred to the international special tribunal for Lebanon as a farce, with some pointing the finger at Israel for orchestrating the assassination.

Most Popular