By Rashi Jain-
Special Tribunal for Lebanon after almost 6 years of investigation and hearings, reached to the verdict on Ayyash et al. case. Out of the four accused, Salim Ayyash was convicted. However, Hassan Habib Merhi, Hussein Hassan Oneissi, and Assad Hassan Sabra were acquitted of all charges.
The prosecution presented various documents and telecommunication evidence to prove that the convicted Salim Ayyash and Mr. Badreddine (Who died in 2016 in Syria) were engaged in MR. Hariri’s surveillance and assassination. The tribunal directed that –
“The evidence has established that Mr. Ayyash conspired with unidentified people to commit a terrorist act by means of an explosive device in order to murder Mr. Hariri. Mr. Ayyash led the assassination team on Monday 14 February 2005. The Prosecution proved that he was using Yellow, Blue, Red, and Green network mobiles and that the first three were engaged in surveillance of Mr. Hariri between October 2004 and 14 February 2005. It also proved that he was actively involved in the assassination on the day of the attack.”
Tribunal also mentioned Salim Ayyash despite having links with the military group of Hezbollah, there is no evidence that the leadership of Hezbollah and the Syrian government was involved in the assassination
The prosecution argued that Hassan Habib Merhi, Hussein Hassan Oneissi, and Assad Hassan Sabra identified a suitable person ‘Mr. Abu. Adass’ in a videotaped false claim of responsibility for the attack. However, The tribunal concerning this statement said that “The prosecution has therefore not proved its case beyond the reasonable doubt against other three suspects’ participation in the false claim of responsibility for the attack on Mr. Hariri”
All the four accused were facing charges of conspiracy to commit a terrorist killing which killed over 22 people and injured 226 people, intentional homicide, and attempted intentional homicide of Mr. Hariri and other related charges. All the accused were tried in absentia.