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Hariri Verdict Delayed ‘Out of Respect’ for Beirut Blast Victims
'First nail.' Rafic Hariri (Helene C. Stikkel/Wikimedia Commons)

Hariri Verdict Delayed ‘Out of Respect’ for Beirut Blast Victims

A special tribunal near The Hague says that in the wake of Tuesday’s massive and deadly explosion in Beirut’s port, it will postpone the announcement of its verdict on four men being tried in absentia for the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafic Hariri. The verdict was to have come on Friday but will now be read on August 18. A court statement said the move was “out of respect for the countless victims of the devastating explosion that shook Beirut on 4 August, and the three-days of public mourning in Lebanon.” Hariri and 21 others were killed in the Lebanese capital by a truck bomb blamed on Syrian intelligence. The four defendants have links to Hizbullah, a Shi’ite group backed by Iran and aligned with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad; as such, authorities in Lebanon, now busy with the aftermath of the port explosion, had been bracing for possible violence in case of a guilty verdict. Hariri, a Lebanese businessman who made a fortune in Saudi Arabia, is widely credited with playing a role in the Saudi-backed Taif Agreement of 1989, which ended Lebanon’s long civil war. He served twice as prime minister.

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