Last week, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) gave its long-awaited verdict on the case of Rafic Hariri’s assassination of February 14th, 2005. One out of four suspects pleaded guilty while the other three were acquitted.
After an 11-year investigation, Salim Jamil Ayyash was convicted on several charges related to the killing of the former premier. However, his family insists that he is innocent and denounces injustice.
In a statement issued Thursday, Ayyash’s family said, “The Special Tribunal for Lebanon’s decision to condemn Salim Ayyash is a great injustice for him and his family.”
His family, originating from the Harouf village in south Lebanon, reassured that Ayyash spent his life serving his family, his people, as well as volunteering in the Civil Defence.
“The far and near vouch for his good and honorable life,” they said. They added that at the time of the crime, Ayyash was performing the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.
“All of this refutes this accusation, emphasizes the injustice, and shows the weakness and invalidity of the conviction,” they declared.
While the tribunal found Ayyash guilty, the panel said there was no evidence that Hezbollah’s leadership nor Syria were involved in Hariri’s killing.
However, according to security officials, Ayyash, a known Hezbollah operative, was part of a Hezbollah special ops team, Unit 121, revealed The Washington Post in a recent report.
Nevertheless, both Hezbollah’s leader and the family of Ayyash maintain he is innocent.