Prosecutor files amended indictment in Hariri probe

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The prosecutor of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon filed an amended indictment on Friday based on further evidence in the probe into the 2005 killing of former Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri, the office of the prosecutor said.

"The Prosecutor of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, Daniel A. Bellemare, today filed an amended indictment," his office said in a statement.

The new amended indictment "replaces the indictment of 11 March 2011, to include substantive new elements unavailable until recently," it said.

The indictment, which is being kept confidential, has to be examined by Belgian judge Daniel Fransen, who has the responsibility of confirming it before arrest warrants or summonses are issued.

"It is anticipated that this will be completed in the coming months," the STL press office said.

The initial indictment was filed on January 17.

The tribunal was set up in The Hague in 2009 by the United Nations to try those alleged to have carried out the massive car bomb attack that killed Hariri and 22 others in Beirut.

"Whilst there is no fixed timeframe for the review of the indictment and the supporting material, the pre-trial judge is working to complete this process as quickly as possible following this amendment," the press office said in a statement.

"To ensure that the review is fair and just, the large volume of supporting material must be examined carefully and comprehensively," it added.

The prosecutor did not intend to make further amendments to the indictment unless ordered to do so by the judge.

"Other indictments could, however, be filed in the future if warranted by the evidence," Bellemare's office added.

© 2011 AFP

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