Lebanon seeks death penalty for ex-minister in Syria plot

A Lebanese judge on Wednesday demanded the death penalty for ex-minister Michel Samaha and Syrian security chief Ali Mamlouk, who face charges of plotting attacks on political and religious figures in Lebanon.

Military magistrate Riad Abu Ghida said Samaha and Mamlouk should be given the ultimate punishment "for transporting explosives from Syria to Lebanon in an attempt to assassinate Lebanese political and religious leaders," according to a copy of the indictment received by AFP.

They were also accused of targeting "Syrian gunmen" and "smugglers" in the Akkar region of northern Lebanon. The indictment did not elaborate.

Samaha and Mamlouk were first accused in August of planning the attacks along with a Syrian army colonel identified only by his first name, Adnan.

Investigators have said that explosives were found in Samaha's car when he was arrested at his home on August 9. A former information minister, the Christian politician is known for having close ties to the Damascus regime.

Syria occupied Lebanon militarily and politically for nearly three decades until 2005, when its troops were forced to pull out of the country under international pressure.

Seven years after Syria withdrew from Lebanon, the country's political forces remain sharply divided over their neighbour.

 

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