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Photo: Reuters
Judge Detlev Mehlis
Photo: Reuters
Probe chief: Assad ordered Hariri killed
Judge who headed probe on Lebanese premier's death says Syria feared he would overturn regime

The German judge who was in charge of an investigation on the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri says the Syrian regime ordered his assassination.

 

In an interview with a German radio station, Detlev Mehlis said Syrian President Bashar Assad "ordered Hariri killed" because he feared the premier was cooperating with France and the US in order to overturn the Syrian regime and disarm Hezbollah.

 

 

Mehlis revealed during the interview, which was carried by many local news agencies, that the main reason for the order was UN Resolution 1559, which took aim at Syria.

 

He said witness testimonies gathered by his commission indicate that "the structure of the Syrian regime does not allow such a crime to be carried out without explicit orders from Assad".

 

Mehlis stressed the importance of testimony given by Abdelhalim Kheddam, a former Syrian vice president who fled the country.

 

The Syrian regime is built like a pyramid, with those close to the top becoming wealthy, but when they feel the regime is in danger they change their behavior "as in any dictatorship", Mehlis said, adding that he believes the current regime will fall within a year or two.

 

The Mehlis Commission issued a report in 2005, in which the judge wrote that Syria must arrest suspects involved in the planning, financing, organization, and initiation of terrorist acts.

 

 

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