Page last updated at 13:52 GMT, Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Three released in Hariri inquiry

Thousands in Lebanon mark the fourth anniversary of the assassination of Rafik Hariri (14/02/09)
Lebanon recently marked the fourth anniversary of Rafik Hariri's death

Three suspects, held over the assassination of Lebanon's former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, have been freed.

The three are all civilians, two of them Lebanese and one Syrian. Four Lebanese generals remain in custody.

The three had been held on suspicion of withholding information and misleading the assassination inquiry.

Their release comes before the start on Sunday of a UN special tribunal in the Hague which is due to try suspects in the case.

No charges

The released three are Lebanese brothers Mahmoud and Ahmed Abdel Aal and Syrian Ibrahim Jarjura.

The four pro-Syrian generals, who are still in custody, all held senior positions in the country's security infrastructure.

They are former head of General Security Maj Gen Jamil al-Sayyad, former chief of police Maj Gen Ali Hajj, former military intelligence chief Brig Gen Raymond Azar and Republican Guard commander Mustafa Hamdan.

The men are suspected of planning the murder and carrying out terrorist acts.

No-one has been charged in connection with the killing but the four may soon be transferred to the Netherlands for the international tribunal.

The prosecutor at that court has said the hearing could take as long as five years.

Mr Hariri and 22 other people died in February 2005 in a bomb blast in Beirut.

Syria has long been suspected of involvement but has always vehemently denied this.

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