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Hariri tribunal judge: evidence against three accomplices insufficient

A billboard depicting Lebanon's former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri, who was killed in a bombing in 2005, is pictured in Sidon, southern Lebanon, Lebanon August 18, 2020. REUTERS/Aziz Taher

LEIDSCHENDAM, Netherlands (Reuters) - Prosecutors have provided insufficient evidence to prove a key claim in their case against three men accused as accomplices in the 2005 killing of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri, a judge said on Tuesday.

The judges are reading their decision at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon against four accused and have not yet pronounced their verdict.

While prosecutors had shown that suspects used cell phones to coordinate the attack, they did not sufficiently connect the suspects to a false claim made immediately after the attack by people who must have known Hariri would be killed.

“The prosecution has therefore not proved its case beyond reasonable doubt (against three suspects’) participation in the false claim of responsibility for the attack on Hariri,” said Judge Janet Nosworthy.

Reporting by Toby Sterling; Writing by Anthony Deutsch; editing by John Stonestreet