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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January 26, 2017

The Daily Star- STL discusses increased surveillance of Hariri, January 26 , 2017

BEIRUT: Witness testimony at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon Wednesday detailed the surveillance of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri’s movements in the months leading up to his 2005 assassination. Prosecutor Nigel Povoas questioned Gary Platt, an expert in covert cellular networks, on activity by the defendants and alleged conspirators in the expansion of surveillance networks tracked by call records.
Platt has testified before the STL over the past weeks on cell phone data that is fundamental to the prosecution’s case, which has used it to identify and track the alleged conspiracy leading up to the attack that killed Hariri and 21 others.
Previous testimony by Platt mapped out the initial stages of the surveillance operation that was primarily located around Hariri’s residence at Qoreitem in west Beirut. However he testified Wednesday that the network expanded considerably from Dec. 21, 2004.
“The 21st was the first day in which the so-called ‘Principle Six,’ [individuals allegedly directly involved in the assassination] began their surveillance,” Platt explained. “It represents a significant escalation in surveillance.”
Prior to this date, surveillance of Hariri was conducted exclusively by two unnamed and unattributed cell phones – identified in the case only as Subject 5 and Subject 7. After this point, however, phones attributed to six individuals, including the accused Salim Jamil Ayyash, allegedly joined the surveillance.
When asked by Povoas, Platt explained that in his opinion, “At that time, they must have realized that in order to upgrade their surveillance, they needed more people. That’s why you see more involvement.”
According to Platt, this expanded operation also followed Hariri to one of a series of regular meetings he reportedly had with Hezbollah Secretary-General Hasan Nasrallah in Beirut’s suburbs.
Platt said that cellular data indicated that the surveillance team most likely did not follow Hariri from his home to Haret Hreik, but was instead already in position when he arrived. “Clearly they were forewarned that he would be attending,” he said. “Somebody must have told them this meeting was taking place.”
Nothing else was said about the means by which the team following Hariri might have been tipped off about the details of the meeting.
When questioned by Povoas, Platt said that the network’s presence in the southern suburbs was simply an extension of their previous work. “[In situations like this] you can observe security arrangements,” he said. “[Hariri had] less security than normal for these trips. You could get a closer look, under less controlled conditions.”
“It would afford anybody watching more opportunities to conduct accurate surveillance.”
In a separate exchange, Povoas also discussed the escalating tension between Hariri and the Syrian government in that period. At the same time he was meeting with Nasrallah, according to Povoas, “Hariri was seen among elements of the Syrian regime and some leaders of Hezbollah as an international tool for U.S. and French interests.” The Syrian government has been implicated in Hariri’s assassination but no proof of involvement has thus far arisen.

Source & Link : The Daily Star

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