Military prosecutor rejects Samaha defense data objection

The Daily Star

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Military Prosecutor Saqr Saqr Monday rejected a complaint by Former Information Minister Michel Samaha’s defense team regarding the authenticity of telecommunications data and recordings related to the case. A judicial source told The Daily Star that Saqr’s decision indicated that his dismissal of the complaint was on the grounds that it lacked any criminal elements.

Head of the Military Cassation Court Judge Toni Lattouf had earlier referred the request filed by the defense judges to Saqr.

The recordings depict conversations between Samaha and police informant Milad Kfoury. Footage also shows Samaha ordering Kfoury to carry out attacks against prominent Lebanese political figures.

The videos indicate that Syrian President Bashar Assad and Syrian National Security Bureau chief Maj. Gen. Ali Mamlouk were aware of the plot.

Other evidence includes a testimony that Samaha gave to the Internal Security Forces’ Information Branch upon his arrest.

Samaha is set to give his testimony to the Military Appeals Court on Dec. 10 after the Military Cassation Court adjourned the retrial last week to allow defense attorneys the chance to examine the audiovisual recordings made by Kfoury.

Samaha, who was arrested Aug. 9, 2012, has been previously convicted of conspiring to commit acts of terrorism and was sentenced to four and a half years in prison. However, due to previous years spent in detention, his release was scheduled for September. The verdict was met with staunch opposition by political factions, and his opponents were outraged with the lenient sentence.

In June, the Military Cassation Court approved a request to appeal the verdict issued against Samaha, a close ally of Assad and a March 8 figure.

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