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Lebanon - Demands for an international tribunal into the assassination of Hariri persist

'A year has passed and we can still feel the sadness'

There will be no backing down from the demand for an international tribunal to try the assassins of former Premier Rafik Hariri, according to the organizers of the first commemoration of his assassination at the Unesco Palace late Monday.

Some 20 people died on the morning of February 14, 2005 when some 1,000 kilograms of explosives blew up the convoy of the former premier who was heading to his house after attending a parliamentary session.

Future bloc MP Atef Majdalani delivered a speech by Yasma Fuleihan, the widow of former Minister Basel Fuleihan who was with Hariri, and died 64 days later from severe burns due to the explosion.

In her speech, Fuleihan, who apologized for not attending the commemoration due to personal reasons, said "knowing the truth behind the horrid crime is a persistent national cause."

"A year has passed since the crime of the century and we can still hear the explosion, and feel the sadness as if it were yesterday," said Munir Hafi of Future television station owned by Hariri.

"The statesman was taken from us but he remains in our hearts," Hafi said, adding that "the one who has children is never dead," referring to Hariri's son MP Saad Hariri; and at the same time replying to what the pro-Syrian former Interior Minister Suleiman Franjieh said last year when criticizing Saad Hariri.

At a time when the conflict between the pro-Syrian powers and the March 14 supporters was at its peak, Franjieh said that the former premier died because he had a son like Saad Hariri.

Also during the commemoration, lawyer Nada Abu Samra demanded, on behalf of the martyrs' families, that the Lebanese government compensates them.

"The state's restraint in compensating the families which lost their providers is as if it is telling them that it doesn't care if they live or die," she said.

Beirut,02 13 2006
Leila Hatoum
The Daily Star
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