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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 November 2005, 19:25 GMT
Hariri suspect rushed to hospital
Gen Raymond Azar
Gen Azar denies any involvement in the plot or any foreknowledge of it
A key Lebanese suspect in the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri has been taken to hospital with heart trouble, his lawyer says.

Gen Raymond Azar was taken from prison to intensive care in Beirut on Tuesday.

The former military intelligence chief was among four generals arrested in August in connection with the crime.

Witnesses told the UN inquiry into the killing he helped plan the killing and gave the plot logistical support. Gen Azar denies any wrongdoing.

His lawyer, Naji al-Bustani, confirmed he was in hospital, but denied he was in a critical condition.

"He suffered from high blood pressure which affected his heart after the prison authorities asked his family to meet him in the same waiting room with dozens of ordinary detainees," he told Reuters.


Gen Azar's role in the wiretapping of Hariri's phone was also being investigated by UN officials last week.

Assassins had considerable resources and capabilities
Evidence suggests both Syria and Lebanon were involved
Crime was prepared over several months
Hariri's movements and itineraries were monitored
Highly unlikely Syrian or Lebanese intelligence were not aware of assassination plot

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An interim report by the team says Col Ghassan Tufayli, the head of a military intelligence surveillance unit made transcripts of Hariri's calls and passed them to Gen Azar and Armed Forces Chief Michel Suleiman.

Col Tufayli told the inquiry that Gen Azar then sent the transcripts to Lebanese President Emile Lahoud and to the then head of the Syrian military intelligence service in Lebanon, Gen Rustom Ghazali.

Later this week, five senior Syrian officials also implicated in the inquiry's report are expected to be questioned in Vienna by the head of the UN team, Detlev Mehlis.

Reports from Lebanon suggest the officials include the head of Syrian military intelligence, Assef Shawkat, a brother-in-law of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Syria has repeatedly denied any involvement in the killing.


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