Lebanon's Saad Hariri arrives for trial of Hezbollah agents accused of killing father

Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri arrived in the Netherlands on Monday. (Reuters)
Updated 10 September 2018
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Lebanon's Saad Hariri arrives for trial of Hezbollah agents accused of killing father

  • The long-running trial at a UN-backed court in the Netherlands resumes on Tuesday
  • Rafik Hariri, Lebanon's former prime minister, was killed by a huge bomb in Beirut in 2005.

THE HAGUE:  Saad Hariri, Lebanon's premier-designate, arrived in the Netherlands on Monday to attend the final stage of the trial of four Hezbollah agents accused of killing his father.

The long-running trial at a UN-backed court of the men accused of assassinating Rafik Hariri, himself a former prime minister, will resume on Tuesday.

Prosecutors and defense lawyers will make their final statements but the defendants will be absent.

The extraordinary trial seeks to bring to justice those behind the huge bomb in Beirut that killed Hariri in 2005.

Hezbollah has refused to turn over the four indicted men – Salim Ayyash, Hussein Oneissi, Assad Sabra and Hassan Habib Merhi – for the trial which began in January 2014.

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon said that two weeks of closing arguments will start with the prosecution on Tuesday presenting “a summary of the case they presented in court since 2014.”

Legal representatives for the victims of the attack, which killed 21 people besides billionaire Hariri and injured 226, will follow suit, followed by the defense, AFP reported.

A verdict is not expected until next year.

 

The assassination of Hariri, who was Lebanon’s Sunni prime minister until his resignation in October 2004, was a pivotal moment in the country’s history.

Fingers pointed at Syria after the bomb detonated next to Hariri’s armored convoy on the Beirut seafront.

The bombing triggered a wave of mass demonstrations that ended with the the departure of Syrian forces from Lebanon after a 30-year presence, after which Hariri’s son Saad became premier.

When the tribunal eventually handed down indictments it targeted four members of Hezbollah.

Saad Hariri is about to start his third term in office. Lebanese newspaper The Daily Star said Hariri had arrived in the Netherlands on Monday.

Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Hezbollah has repeatedly dismissed the tribunal as a US-Israeli plot.


German court says Kuwait Airways can bar Israeli passengers

Updated 42 min 51 sec ago
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German court says Kuwait Airways can bar Israeli passengers

  • The case was brought by an Israeli student living in Germany
  • Frankfurt court ruled that because the flight required a stopover in Kuwait City, it was “factually impossible” to transport the passenger

FRANKFURT: A German appeals court on Tuesday ruled that it could not prevent Kuwait Airways from banning Israeli passengers, even though it believed the policy amounted to discrimination.
The case was brought by an Israeli student living in Germany, who in 2016 bought a ticket online to travel from Frankfurt to Bangkok with Kuwait Airways.
The state-owned airline canceled the ticket soon after saying Kuwaiti law prohibits all commercial relations with Israelis and Israeli companies.
The higher regional court in Frankfurt ruled that because the flight required a stopover in Kuwait City, which is under Kuwaiti jurisdiction, it was “factually impossible” for the airline to transport the passenger.
The finding was similar to a ruling reached by a lower German court last year.
In a statement, the court acknowledged that the outcome was “unsatisfying” for the plaintiff but said it had no choice but to dismiss his demand to be able to book a new journey to Bangkok with Kuwait Airways.
A request for financial compensation was also denied.
The judges nevertheless slammed Kuwait’s Israel boycott as discriminatory and “incompatible with German values,” but said changing it was a matter for politicians.
The non-profit Lawfare project, which is representing the Israeli passenger, said it was considering a further appeal.
“This is a tragic day for German law,” said Lawfare’s executive director Brooke Goldstein.
“Rather than be held accountable before the law, the court has rewarded Kuwait Airways for its anti-Semitism.”
In 2015, Kuwait Airways opted to scrap all its flights between New York’s JFK airport and London Heathrow after US authorities threatened legal action over its refusal to sell tickets to Israelis.