Lebanon Frees Generals Held in Death of Ex-PM Hariri

It could boost Hezbollah-led opposition in elections
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 29, 2009 3:16 PM CDT
Lebanon Frees Generals Held in Death of Ex-PM Hariri
Hillary Clinton signs a condolence book at the grave of slain former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri earlier this week.   (AP Photo)

Lebanon today released four generals held nearly 4 years in the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri after a UN-backed tribunal ordered them freed, setting off celebrations with fireworks and dancing. Their release leaves the international tribunal with no suspects in custody after a four-year UN investigation into an assassination that triggered enormous political and sectarian turmoil.

The tribunal's decision—after prosecutors said there was not enough evidence to justify their continued detention—could also have an immediate political impact. Lebanon faces a crucial parliamentary election June 7, pitting a pro-Western faction headed by Hariri's son Saad against an opposition dominated by the militant Shiite Muslim group Hezbollah, which took up the cause of the four generals. (More United Nations stories.)

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