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Hariri's office responds to NTV report: The meeting took place upon a direct request from the international investigation commission
 
 
 
 
 
 
16-01-2011
 
Caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri's press office responds to the news report broadcasted by the 'New TV” Station about an audio recording of a conversation held in the framework of the investigation in the assassination of Martyr Prime Minister Rafic Hariri.

The Press Office of Prime Minister Saad Hariri would like to clarify the following:

1. The audio recordings attributed to some witnesses before the international investigation commission in the assassination of Martyr Prime Minister Rafik Hariri are part of an intelligence process par excellence, and raise big question marks on the way by which they were obtained, and the motives behind them and behind broadcasting them in the catching format prepared for some media outlets.

2. The Special Tribunal for Lebanon and the Office of the Prosecutor in the assassination of Martyr Prime Minister Rafik Hariri are concerned with providing the safety and secrecy of the investigation. This requires strictness in ensuring the secrecy of documents, information and testimonies, and taking all the measures required by justice in this regard.
3. The conversation attributed to Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Colonel Wissam Hassan with the so-called Mohammed Zouheir al-Siddiq, in the presence of the international investigator Gerhard Lehmann, took place in response to a direct request from the international investigation commission, which organized the meeting and mandated Lehmann to attend it, in the aim of finding out the truth about the statements made by al-Siddiq, especially after he provided the commission with a written statement stating his presence at the crime scene on February 14, 2005, contrary to previous information he had provided.

The request of the investigation commission was met, and the conversation took place, but the TV station picked from it parts that are very catching on the media level to take it out of its general context, and these parts don't add any element that would change the course of the investigation.

4. The Lebanese concerned authorities had previously informed the international investigation commission that the statements made by al-Siddiq are false, and the commission considered that it should meet with him to uncover the truth in his statements. The recording that was broadcasted shows that one of the aims of this meeting was to try to lure al-Siddiq to Beirut to have him appear before the Prosecutor General Saeed Mirza, a step which he feared and evaded by all means, despite the guarantees presented to him by Colonel Wissam Hassan in this regard.

5. The broadcasted recording, although it was part of the minutes of the international investigation commission, doesn't form a significant basis in the course of the investigation. It is part of the episodes refuting the false statements made by al-Siddiq and other witnesses, as mentioned in more than one report issued by the president of the commission.

6. In any case, and contrary to the insinuations which some want to put in the mind of the public opinion through broadcasting the audio excerpts, the content of the sentences attributed to Prime Minister Saad Hariri and colonel Wissam Hassan confirms the doubts about the authenticity of the testimonies of this witness, and thus refutes the allegations of fabricating witnesses which became part of the campaign against the Special Tribunal for purposes that have become obvious to everyone.
 
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