Hamadeh Met Nasrallah in 2005 to Ask about Murder Attempt as Party Handed Wissam Hassan Report on Hariri Assassination
MP Marwan Hamadeh revealed on Wednesday that he had held talks in Spring 2005 with Hizbullah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah in order to inquire about the attempt against his life in October 2004.
“I met with Nasrallah in late April-early May to ask him if his party was behind the assassination attempt,” he said during his ongoing testimony at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.
Nasrallah denied involvement to which Hamadeh later asked if the party's ally, Syria, was linked to the attack.
The Hizbullah chief said that he did not know if Syria was involved.
Hamadeh then told the STL Defense that his meeting with Nasrallah, which was attended by MP Nawwaf al-Moussawi, focused on local and regional affairs.
He described the talks as amicable, adding that he scheduled the meeting at the behest of Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat and in the wake of the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri on February 14, 2005.
Hamadeh also revealed that Hariri had met with Nasrallah about a month before the assassination.
The two officials had regular contacts ahead of the 2005 parliamentary elections, the lawmaker said.
Lead defense counsel for accused Hizbullah member Mustafa Badreddine Antoine Korkmaz asked Hamadeh if he was aware that Nasrallah had visited the Hariri family's Beirut residence in secret to offer his condolences, to which the MP replied that he was.
Korkmaz said that Nasrallah had presented the head of Hariri's security team, the late Wissam al-Hassan, with a Hizbullah document on the assassination.
Hamadeh replied that he was informed that he offered the family his support for the investigation in the murder, adding: “I was not present at the residence at the time of his visit.”
He also stated that he was not aware of the document that Nasrallah had handed Hassan.
Korkmaz said: “Nasrallah told the family that we know the value of blood sacrifice and martyrdom.”
Hamadeh continued: “We were grateful for Nasrallah on the one had, but we were upset with the March 8, 2005 demonstration in support and defense of the Syrian regime.”
The Defense then read a excerpts from a number of articles that Hamadeh, as a journalist, had written in praise of the Syrian regime during the 1990s and early 2000s.
When asked about how he could heap such praise on it and later allege that it was behind Hariri's assassination, Hamadeh replied: “Ties between us and Syria changed after 2000.”
“It was becoming apparent that the regime under Syrian President Bashar Assad was not keen on completing the implementation of the Taef Accord, but was seeking to seize control of Lebanon. This naturally led to the change in our stance and tone,” he noted.
The March 14 alliance, which Hamadeh is a member of, has repeatedly accused Syria of being behind Hariri's assassination, as well as several other political murders in the country over the years.
The STL is tackling Hariri's 2005 assassination.
Five Hizbullah members were indicted in the crime, but they remain at large.
They will be tried in absentia.
A number of political figures are expected to present their testimonies before the STL.
The Tribunal on Tuesday agreed to include Jumblat and journalist Ali Hamadeh as witnesses in the case.