September 16, 2019 / 2:43 PM / 3 months ago

Lebanon tribunal unseals new indictment against Ayyash

THE HAGUE (Reuters) - The Special Tribunal for Lebanon on Monday unsealed an indictment on new charges against Salim Jamil Ayyash, currently a fugitive from the court and on trial in absentia.

The court said in a statement that Ayyash faced five new charges relating to the killings of three men in 2004 and 2005.

The tribunal in The Hague was established in 2009 to prosecute crimes related to the Feb. 14 2005 bombing that killed 22 people, including Lebanon’s former prime minister Rafik Hariri, and injured many others.

Ayyash, whose whereabouts are unknown, is being defended on charges of “conspiracy to commit terrorism” in the Hariri case by a publicly appointed defense lawyer. Prosecutors say Ayyash is a Hezbollah commander who led coordination of Hariri’s assassination.

The court said on Monday that Ayyash would be presumed innocent of the new charges, but that there is enough evidence against him to merit a trial. The court sent new warrants for his arrest to the Lebanese government and international police organizations.

Reporting by Toby Sterling; Editing by Catherine Evans

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