Prosecutor seeks new charge in Hariri murder indictment

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The prosecution at the UN-backed court probing the murder of Lebanese ex-premier Rafiq Hariri is seeking to add a new charge of criminal association to the indictment, the tribunal said Friday.

"The prosecution is seeking to add a new count to the indictment of 'criminal association', which is an offence under the Lebanese penal code," the Special Tribunal for Lebanon said in a statement.

The Hague-based court said the request was made by the prosecutor on February 8 but that the contents of the amended indictment remain confidential.

Early last month, the court said it would put four Hezbollah members on trial in absentia over the February 14, 2005 car bombing in Beirut that killed Hariri and 22 others, including a suicide bomber.

Arrest warrants have been issued for the four -- Salim Ayyash, Mustafa Badreddine, Hussein Anaissi and Assad Sabra -- but they remain at large.

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati had said last month that the tribunal's prosecutor Daniel Bellamare, who ended his mandate at the end of February, would be submitting a revised indictment before he left office.

He said Bellemare informed him that the new charge sheet concerns information on attacks against three veteran Lebanese politicians linked to Hariri's assassination in a massive seaside car bomb blast in Beirut in February 2005.

The officials were named as George Hawi, ex-leader of the Lebanese Communist Party who was killed by a car bomb in June 2005, former defence minister Michel Murr, who survived a car bomb in July 2005, and Druze MP and ex-minister Marwan Hamadeh, who escaped an attempt on his life in 2004.

UN leader Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday named ICC deputy prosecutor Norman Farrell of Canada as Bellamare's successor.

Hezbollah, blacklisted as a terrorist organisation by Washington, has denied involvement in the Hariri murder.

© 2012 AFP

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