BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanese President Michel Aoun said on Sunday that Saad al-Hariri’s freedom was being restricted in Riyadh, the first time the Lebanese government has publicly declared its belief that Saudi Arabia is holding its prime minister against his will.
Aoun said Hariri was living in “mysterious circumstances” in Riyadh which had “reached the degree of restricting (his) freedom” and “imposing conditions on his residency and on contact with him even by members of his family”.
Reuters cited senior Lebanese government officials on Thursday saying that the authorities believed Hariri was being held against his will in Riyadh, where he unexpectedly resigned as prime minister on Nov. 4, the day after arriving there.
Aoun said this threw doubt over anything that Hariri has said, or will say, and his statements could not be considered as an expression of his full free will. Hariri is expected to give a televised interview later on Sunday.
Saudi Arabia has denied Hariri is being held against his will or that he had been forced to resign.
Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Richard Balmforth