UN court lets former Lebanese general seek police file

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Former Lebanese general Jamil El Sayed, held for four years after the murder of ex-prime minister Rafiq Hariri, was allowed to seek access to his criminal file on Friday by a UN tribunal.

"The applicant has standing to request access to the documents concerning him in the criminal file related to the Hariri case," the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (TSL) judge Daniel Fransen said in a statement.

Sayed, Lebanon's former security services director, was arrested following the death of Hariri and 22 other people in a Beirut bomb attack on February 14, 2005.

At a July hearing at The Hague-based TSL -- set up by the UN to prosecute those responsible for the attack -- Sayed had requested access to his file in order to launch proceedings in another court.

Fransen said accessing one's criminal file was a "basic human right", but added that it could be limited, especially where it might compromise ongoing investigations, undermine fundamental interests or affect national or international security.

He ordered Sayed and the prosecutor to submit their observations concerning the application of these limitations to his case by October 1.

Sayed was imprisoned from 2005 to 2009, but was released last year after the TSL ruled there was a lack of evidence to convict him. He claims he was detained arbitrarily after unfounded allegations against him.

© 2010 AFP

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