United Nations — U.N. investigators in Lebanon identified four high-level suspects in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. Three former security chiefs and a former member of parliament were named by the United Nations investigation commission, August 30.
Detlev Mehlis, the German prosecutor heading the investigation identified three former heads of Lebanese intelligence agencies and a Member of Parliament as suspects. Mehlis ordered searches on the homes and premises of the suspects. Searches were acrried out with the full cooperation of the Lebanese police. The three security chiefs are being interviewed.
U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson called the report “a very dramatic development and a credit to Mr. Mehlis and his team and to the U.N.”.
U.N. Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari privately briefed the Security Council on the latest developments in the investigation.
The council authorized the investigation after a U.N. fact-finding mission determined Lebanon incapable of carrying out a credible investigation into the February assassination of Hariri.
Mehlis is to hold a press conference in Beirut on September 1 to provide details on the arrests, according to Security Council President Kenzo Oshima (Japan).
Those detained are: Jamil al-Sayyed, former head of General Security; Ali Hajj, ex-chief of police; and Raymond Azar, former military intelligence chief, Lebanese officials said.
A fifth person who was previously declared a suspect, Gen. Mustafa Hamdan, was summoned for a second interview and he voluntarily went to the the U.N. team’s headquarters.
Former MP Nassir Qandil was also wanted for questioning but was reported to be in Syria at the time. On his return from Syria, Qandil was arrested.
U.S. Ambassador Patterson noted that Syria continues to be uncooperative, even though Mehlis met with Syrian officials in Geneva a few days ago.