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Syrian witness claims Assad, Lahoud ordered Hariri killing

Syrian witness claims Assad, Lahoud ordered Hariri killing

A Syrian national suspected of involvement in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri said that Syrian President Bashar Assad and his Lebanese counterpart Emile Lahoud ordered the killing, the Lebanese Media reported Sunday.

Mohammed Zuhair Siddiq, the witness in the massive bombing that killed Hariri and 21 others in central Beirut on Feb. 14, 2005, accused Assad and Lahoud of giving the orders to assassinate Hariri, An Nahar daily newspaper said. In a live interview with Al-Arabiya channel late on Saturday from his residence in Paris, Siddiq said that he saw the car used in the assassination with his own eyes being prepared at the Syrian al-Zabadani camp, the daily said.

He added that he gave the former UN chief investigator Detlev Mehlis irrefutable documents, insisting that they are real pictures and not fabricated and that the 'negatives' are with him, the Al-Mustaqbal daily newspaper reported.

The Syrian witness said he has a recording that shows how the Syrian intelligence were trying to lure him to Damascus.

About his status as a wanted man by the Lebanese authorities, he stated that the French judiciary is convinced that he is a witness and not an accused. The French authorities detained Siddiq near Paris on Oct. 16, 2005 when the U.N. commission recommended his arrest on grounds of giving false evidence to UN investigators.

In December 2005, France refused to hand over Siddiq to Lebanon fearing he could face the death penalty for his alleged involvement in the murder.

from Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)