Lebanon special tribunal appoints defence lawyers: statement

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The UN-backed tribunal investigating the murder of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri said Wednesday it had appointed defence lawyers for four Hezbollah members accused in the case.

"The Head of the Defence Office assigned a primary duty counsel and co-counsel to each of the accused," the Special Tribunal for Lebanon said in a statement issued in The Hague.

"The purpose of these assignments is to ensure that the rights and interests of the accused are individually protected while the Trial Chamber considers whether to initiate in absentia proceedings," it added, stressing that the appointments were temporary.

The tribunal last week announced it would hold a hearing on November 11 to discuss whether to try the four Hezbollah members in absentia.

Salim Ayyash, Mustafa Badreddine, Hussein Anaissi and Assad Sabra are wanted for the massive February 14, 2005 suicide car bomb attack in Beirut that killed Hariri and 22 others, including the suicide bomber.

© 2011 AFP

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