The Lebanese Center for Human Rights (CLDH) is a local non-profit, non-partisan Lebanese human rights organization in Beirut that was established by the Franco-Lebanese Movement SOLIDA (Support for Lebanese Detained Arbitrarily) in 2006. SOLIDA has been active since 1996 in the struggle against arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance and the impunity of those perpetrating gross human violations.

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October 6, 2016

The Daily Star- Special Tribunal for Lebanon : witness details role as Rafik Hariri bodyguard, October 06 , 2016

BEIRUT: A man who had served as a bodyguard for former former premier Rafik Hariri testified at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon Wednesday, recalling his role escorting the statesman. PRH 101 held a leadership position on Hariri’s security detail, and worked for the former PM until his assassination on Valentine’s Day 2005. Hired in 1982 by Hariri’s personal head of security Yahya al Arab, also known as Abu Tareq, he became part of the close protection detail in 1991.
“He was like a shadow on Mr. Hariri the prime minister,” the witness said of Abu Tareq. “He never used to take any holiday. He was always on duty. He was totally loyal to the Hariri family.” On the day of the bombing, Abu Tareq was in the car behind Hariri’s, which took the brunt of the blast. Investigators say he was killed instantly.
In 2008, PRH 101 provided U.N. investigators with the names, phone numbers, and respective positions of Hariri’s three-team, 24-member security detail. He explained to the court Wednesday the schedule and procedures of the bodyguards as well as his own role.
“I was in close protection behind him. My position was behind him for extraction. I was also a team leader so I would give instructions,” he said. PRH 101 said he tailed Hariri when he traveled on foot, and typically followed in the first car behind him in the convoy.
Hariri resigned as prime minister in October 2004, after which his Internal Security Forces escort was reportedly substantially reduced. It is then that prosecutors contend he began to be followed.
Prosecutor Alexander Milne called it the “early stages of a pattern,” which escalated from surveillance into assassination. “A decision was being taken by those watching him,” he told the court.
The witness testified that his own schedule was soon changed too. Two months before the bombing, Abu Tareq issued instructions that instead of working every other day, bodyguards would now work for two days straight before taking a break.
The prosecution sought to establish that as PRH 101 was tailing Hariri, his movements would mirror those of the former PM, and that he could therefore testify to his whereabouts at specific times. They argue that Hariri’s location can then be compared to the phones attributed to the defendants and their co-conspirators, making it clear they were following him.
To this end, they took the witness through a number of maps he had produced of common routes the convoy took from Hariri’s Qoreitem residence to Parliament and Beirut’s airport. He was also asked whether he remembered specific trips, such as when Hariri visited Saudi Arabia for Eid just weeks before he was killed. Prosecutors proposed that such journeys could be verified by calls made to PRH 101’s cellphone, confirming both his location and Hariri’s.
But the defense – and the bench – suggested that the witness’ testimony was being elicited in order to confirm cellphone records that were put to him, rather than the other way around, and was therefore less reliable than suggested.
Prosecutors took him to a phone call made from Hariri’s Qorteim residence to the convoy as it traveled to the airport on one such trip.
“If he was traveling I would have been with him, or I would ... I would have been dropping him [off] or picking him up,” PRH 101 said of the call.
“But you have no independent memory of which one it was? Whether you were coming or going?” asked Judge David Re. “You have no independent memory today of taking him there, is that correct?”
His response underscored a recurring problem at the hearings.
“It’s 10 years later now. I cannot remember 100 percent.”

Source & Link : The Daily Star

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