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Hezbollah leader calls for boycott of UN-backed Lebanon tribunal

Secretary-General of Hezbollah [CFR backgrounder] Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah [BBC profile] called Thursday for all Lebanese to boycott the UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) [official website; JURIST news archive], a probe into the assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri [JURIST news archive]. A crisis is currently developing [AFP report] in Lebanon due to unconfirmed reports that suggest the tribunal is set to implicate members of Hezbollah as participants in the assassination of Hariri. Nasrallah's speech came in the wake of a minor attack [STL report] against STL staff members, which took place Wednesday in a Hezbollah-controlled suburb of Beirut. In addition to calling on all Lebanese citizens and politicians to boycott the tribunal, Nasrallah stated that "[a]ny further cooperation with the tribunal is equal to an attack on the resistance." Current Prime Minister Saad Hariri [official website], son of the former primer minister, has vowed to see the UN tribunal through.

In August, Hezbollah officials submitted evidence [JURIST report] to the STL linking Israel to the the assassination of Rafik Hariri. The submission was in response to a request by the tribunal [JURIST report] for Nasrallah to turn over all information he possesses to the STL. The statement was issued by the tribunal after Nasrallah claimed to have proof that Israel was behind the assassination. Nasrallah said he would present concrete evidence proving that Israeli agents had sought to exploit divisions between Hariri's March 14 Alliance and the opposition March 8 Alliance, of which Hezbollah is a member. The STL was established [JURIST report] in 2005 at the request of the Lebanese government to try those alleged to be connected to the bombing in which Hariri was killed by explosions detonated near his motorcade in Beirut in February 2005.

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