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Trial opens into 2005 killing of Lebanese PM Hariri | The Indian Express

Summary. Alan Cowell Almost nine years after Rafik Hariri, the former Lebanese prime minister, was killed by a truck bomb, an international tribunal opened hearings into the case on Thursday in a courtroom in the Netherlands with lawyers and judges clustered around a mock-up of the crime scene on the Beirut waterfront. The prosecution likened the result of the attack to a “man-made hell.” But notably absent from the Special Tribunal on Lebanon, in a former spy agency office on the outskirts of The Hague, were the four accused who have been shielded from arrest and prosecution by the powerful Lebanese Shiite Muslim group Hezbollah that supports President Bashar al-Assad of Syria in the civil war against mainly Sunni insurgents. The trial for the alleged suspects represents the first time that an international tribunal has tried defendants in their absence since the Nuremberg trials after World War II. Even if they are convicted, the four are entitled to a new trial if they are apprehended. The attack that killed Hariri and 22 others on February 14, 2005 convulsed the region and inspired huge protests against Syria’s influence in Lebanon. Even as the trial began, a car bomb exploded in a northeastern Lebanese town close to the Syrian border, killing three people — the latest in a series of apparently sectarian attacks. The aim of the attack that killed Hariri, said the lead prosecutor, was “to send a terrifying message and to cause panic among the population of Beirut and Lebanon.”
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