The Special Tribunal for Lebanon (TEL) this Friday sentenced Salim Jamil Ayyash, a member of the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah, to five life sentences for the attack that claimed the life of the Former Prime Minister of Lebanon Rafic Hariri and 21 others on February 14, 2005, the first international sentence for a terrorist crime.
Ayyash, a fugitive from justice, was sentenced to comply the five penalties “simultaneously” and that they were issued separately for each of the five crimes charged against him, including the conspiracy and preparation of the terrorist attack; willful killing of Hariri; murder of another 21 people; and attempted murder of the 226 wounded in the attack.
After a decade of a trial in absentia, the Court determined that the maximum penalty is justified by the “seriousness of the crimes” committed by Ayyash, who “had a vital role” in the commission of the attack against Hariri, with “the consequent impact” that this tragedy had on society Lebanese, said Chief Justice David Re.
“Lebanon has a parliamentary system. Politicians should be removed from office at the polls, rather than with a bullet or a bomb in a terrorist attack, “concluded Judge Micheline Braidy from a UN-backed court based in the Dutch city of Leidschendam.
For the judges, Ayyash, “responsible as a co-perpetrator of committing these crimes”, not only sought to “kill Hariri” with the attack, but with “the shocking terrorist attack he also inflicted collective damage on the Lebanese people, attacking their system of government. “said the magistrate.
Fifteen years after that attack, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon last August considered Ayyash “responsible” for the preparation of the terrorist attack that killed Hariri and 21 other people who were in the area, and injured another 226 people.
Hariri was one of the most influential Sunni leaders in Lebanon and opposed Syrian influence in the country, prompting many to point to Damascus as responsible for the assassination.
Justice has not obtained sufficient evidence that “directly links” the Syrian Government or to the leadership of Hezbollah with the preparation of the terrorist attack against Hariri, although Re acknowledged that Ayyash, 57, “did not act alone”, but did “play an important role in the preparation of the attack”, which makes him “guilty of all charges “.
Ayyash, whom Hezbollah refuses to hand over to the Lebanese authorities to transfer him to the Netherlands to participate in the legal proceedings against him, has three other bomb attacks committed against different Lebanese politicians between October 2004 and July 2004 pending at the TEL. 2005.
Digsmak is a news publisher with over 12 years of reporting experiance; and have published in many industry leading publications and news sites.