There is no evidence that the leadership of the Iran-backed Shia Muslim group Hezbollah, or the Syrian government, were involved in the 2005 bombing that killed former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri, Reuters reported a judge saying today.
The Special Tribunal for Lebanon is reading the verdict in the trial of four Hezbollah members charged with conspiracy to kill Hariri and 21 others.
"The trial chamber is of the view that Syria and Hezbollah may have had motives to eliminate Mr Hariri and his political allies, however there is no evidence that the Hezbollah leadership had any involvement in Mr. Hariri's murder and there is no direct evidence of Syrian involvement," said Judge David Re, reading a summary of the court's 2,600 page decision.
However, according to the Jerusalem Post, the tribunal will likely convict three senior Hezbollah members – one of whom is deceased, and acquit two other Hezbollah officials. The paper named the men as Salim Ayyash, Hussein Hassab Oneissi and Mustafa Amine Badreddine.
Yesterday, Hariri's son Bahaa called on the Lebanese people to exercise restraint and avoid angry reactions following the court's ruling.