Photo: AP
Kenaan’s funeral in Damascus
Photo: AP

Syria fails to respond to autopsy request

International investigators looking into ‘suicide’ of interior minister still waiting for response; Syrian officials: No request submitted. Meanwhile, tensions rise in Lebanon ahead of release of report on former PM Hariri’s assassination

Tensions are high in Beirut ahead of the expected release Friday of a report by the international investigative committee looking into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri.


London-based newspaper al-Hayat reported Sunday that unprecedented security measures have been adopted in the Lebanese capital ahead of the report’s release to prepare for any eventuality. The measures include the imposition of a “closure” on the Beirut vicinity monitored by army forces and internal security agents.


Meanwhile, the investigative team’s head, Detlev Mehlis, is still waiting for an official Syrian response to his request to perform an autopsy in the body of former Syrian Interior Minister Ghazi Kenaan, who according to Syria committed suicide by firing his personal handgun to into his mouth.


Sources in Damascus told the newspaper officials have sent Mehlis a file that includes all findings in the official investigation into Kenaan’s death. The sources claimed Mehlis did not submit an official request for an autopsy.


Meanwhile, three senior Syrian officials and experts reportedly convened a press conference Thursday in order to clarify the circumstances surrounding Kenaan’s death, saying he was “deeply hurt by the media propaganda campaign against him.”


‘No deal with Washington’


According to al-Hayat, the investigative committee also heard the testimony of Lebanese Defense Minister Elias al-Mur, who is in Switzerland for treatment after escaping an assassination attempt in July. The newspaper says the investigative team continues to hear testimony away form the limelight.


Another al-Hayat report said the Lebanese government will likely respond favorably to United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s request to extend the investigative team’s mandate to December 15, in order to enable it to question senior Syrian officials.


Earlier, the newspaper reported that Syria has no intention of accepting American offers that would take the pressure off Damascus.


“There’s no deal with Washington,” one Syrian source said. “Talk of a deal is baseless.”


פרסום ראשון: 10.16.05, 08:16
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