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.


Iran executes ‘Sultan of Coins’ convicted of hoarding

Updated 14 November 2018
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Iran executes ‘Sultan of Coins’ convicted of hoarding

  • State TV reported that Vahid Mazloumin and his accomplice, Mohammad Ismail Ghasemi, were hanged early Wednesday
  • Iran detained Mazloumin in July for hoarding two tons of gold coins

TEHRAN: Iran executed the so-called “Sultan of Coins” and his accomplice on Wednesday for hoarding gold coins and other hard currency, signaling zero tolerance as it tries to shore up its currency in the face of an economic crisis.

State TV reported that Vahid Mazloumin and his accomplice, Mohammad Ismail Ghasemi, were hanged early Wednesday. They were convicted of manipulating coin and hard currency markets through illegal and unauthorized deals as well as smuggling. An unspecified number of other accomplices went to prison.

Iran detained Mazloumin, 58, in July for hoarding two tons of gold coins.

Iranians have stocked up on gold coins and other safe-haven investments as the local currency has plummeted in recent months amid renewed US sanctions following President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal in May.

The Iranian rial has plunged to 135,000 to the dollar from last year’s rate of around 40,500.

Last week, President Hassan Rouhani said the Islamic Republic’s already-ailing economy is in a “war situation.” Sporadic protests over the deteriorating economy have erupted in recent months.