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UN Hariri commission requests interviews with Syrian leaders

[JURIST] A spokesperson for the UN commission [UN materials] investigating the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri [JURIST news archive] announced Monday that the commission will request interrogations with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad [BBC profile] and Foreign Minister Farouq al-Sharaa [Wikipedia profile]. The commission is also seeking to question former Vice President Abdel al-Halim Khaddam [Wikipedia profile], whose televised statements last week implicating Bashar in the plot to murder Hariri have caused the Syrian parliament to demand [JURIST report] he be tried for treason. The Syrian government has denied that Bashar was responsible in any way for the 2004 Beirut bombing that killed Hariri and 22 others, though outgoing UN commission head Detlev Mehlis, a German prosecutor, said [JURIST report] last month that he was "convinced" that the government was responsible for the killings. A Syrian spokesman responded Monday, saying that the request for interviews should not be transmitted through the media but should be delivered directly to the Syrian government in order to preserve the integrity of the inquiry. He said Syria is willing to consider the request after it is approved by legal scholars at the Syrian Foreign Ministry. Aljazeera has more.

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