UAE not to deport Syrian witness in Hariri probe: report

DUBAI- The UAE will not extradite a former Syrian spy accused of misleading a UN probe into the murder of former Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri, Gulf News reported on Friday, citing an official source.
There is no case for extraditing Mohammed Zuheir al-Siddiq as he is not wanted by the court in Syria, the source said.

UAE not to deport Syrian witness in Hariri probe: report
Siddiq was initially seen as a leading witness in the UN probe but was discredited later for giving false testimony.
In October, a state security court in Abu Dhabi sentenced him to six months in jail and deportation for entering the United Arab Emirates on a forged Czech passport.
A defence lawyer said the sentence would end in mid-October because of time Siddiq had already spent in custody but it was uncertain whether he would be deported.
However, the official source said Siddiq remains in prison pending the decision on his possible deportation.
In initial reports of the UN inquiry commission into Hariri's February 2005 assassination in a huge bomb blast in Beirut, Siddiq was described as a key witness.
He claimed that Lebanon's former pro-Syrian president Emile Lahoud and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad gave the order to kill the wealthy businessman, who opposed Damascus's grip over its tiny neighbour.
However, Siddiq, a one-time member of Syria's intelligence services, later recanted, and Lebanese and Syrian judicial authorities accused him of lying.
In May, the prosecutor at the tribunal charged with bringing Hariri's killers to justice said Siddiq was no longer a credible witness and was of no interest to the inquiry.
Image: AFP/File/Ramzi Haidar.

Saturday, November 28th 2009

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