August 9, 2011 / 12:30 PM / 9 years ago

Lebanon reports back to tribunal on Hariri probe

A U.N. vehicle drives past a poster depicting Lebanon's assassinated former prime minister Rafik al-Hariri in the port city of Sidon, southern Lebanon, January 20, 2011. REUTERS/Ali Hashisho

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The United Nations-backed Lebanon tribunal said Tuesday that the Lebanese authorities had reported back on measures taken to hunt and arrest four men wanted in the killing of former prime minister Rafik al-Hariri.

No details of the report were released by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), which issued indictments and arrest warrants in June for the four men identified by Lebanese officials as Hezbollah members.

So far none of the four men accused has been detained. The tribunal released their names, photographs and details last month in the hope of speeding up the arrests.

It named the suspects as Mustafa Amine Badreddine, a senior Hezbollah figure and brother-in-law of slain Hezbollah commander Imad Moughniyeh, as well as Salim Jamil Ayyash, Hussein Hassan Oneissi and Assad Hassan Sabra.

Hezbollah, both a political movement and guerrilla army, denies any role in the huge explosion in Beirut which killed Hariri, a Sunni Muslim who served several terms as prime minister, and 21 others, in February 2005.

Hezbollah’s leader, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, has dismissed the indictments as a failed attempt to sow strife and bring down Lebanon’s new Hezbollah-backed government, and has said the authorities would never arrest members of the group.

The tribunal said the Lebanese Prosecutor General had submitted his report Tuesday, adding that Lebanon’s obligation “to arrest, detain and transfer the accused continues.”

Reporting by Sara Webb; Editing by Sitaraman Shankar

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