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Lebanon: General Prosecutor Seeks Lifting of Immunity of a Member of Parliament

(Feb. 11, 2013) On February 2, 2013, Boutros Harb, a Member of Parliament in <?Lebanon, commented publicly on an indictment issued in a case involving what has been considered an assassination attempt on his life in July 2012. Harb thanked the President of the Republic of Lebanon for exerting pressure on the judiciary to speed up the investigation of the case and prevent some persons both within and outside the judiciary from conspiring against “justice.”  (Harb to “Joumhouria”: Indictment in My Assassination Attempt Is Courageous [in Arabic], ALJOUMHOURIA (Feb. 2, 2013).)

Harb was apparently referring to rumors that negotiations had taken place between Hezbollah, to which the indictee belongs, and the General Prosecutor, the highest judicial accusatory authority in Lebanon, to have the indictee, who is still at large, appear voluntarily before the investigative judge under certain conditions protecting him against politicizing the case.

The General Prosecutor considered the comments made by Harb to be insulting to the President of the Republic and to the judiciary. He sent a letter to Parliament through the Minister of Justice asking it to lift Harb’s parliamentary immunity in order to make the MP subject to prosecution. (Id.; Report: Suspect Charged with MP Harb’s Assassination Ready to Testify, NAHARNET (Feb. 5, 2013); & Lebanon Judge Wants Harb’s Immunity Lifted, THE DAILY STAR (Feb. 4, 2013).)