Victims' relatives take the stand at Hariri murder trial

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Al-Akhbar Management

Published Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Relatives of victims killed in the 2005 Beirut blast that targeted former premier Rafik Hariri took the stand for the first time at The Hague-based Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) on Wednesday, describing how the deaths impacted their lives.

"My father lost his teeth because of stress ... My mother cries all the time and suffers from severe depression," Abdul Qader Darwish, the brother of victim Mohammed Darwish, told the court.

"I have also been suffering from abdominal pains since my brother died," he added. "I've seen many doctors, but they said there is no treatment for my illness."

The prosecution asked him to describe how his brother, who was a part of Hariri's convoy during the February 14 explosion, appeared when he identified him at the morgue almost nine years ago.

"He was totally maimed," Darwish responded. "The only remaining parts were a bit of his hair, and he was without any arms or legs."

Wednesday's session was the fourth day of the trial of four Hezbollah members accused of carrying out the attack which killed 22 people including Hariri.

The brother of Ziad Tarraf, one of Hariri's bodyguard accompanying him on the day of the blast, also took the stand.

He described his brother as having been very kind and friendly who loved his work.

The prosecution asked him how he was able to identify his brother in the morgue despite the corpse being completely mangled.

"I was able to identify my brother from the shoes he was wearing," he said, explaining that he had lent them to his brother.

"I will never forget his face, even if the body was completely incinerated, I could never forget the features of his face."

Four Hezbollah members are being tried in absentia over the assassination. A fifth member has also been indicted in the crime and is expected to have his trial merged with the others.

Hezbollah has denied any involvement in the killing, describing the STL as a US-Israeli tool created to discredit the group.

(Al-Akhbar)

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