Disappointment and Satisfaction in Tariq al-Jedideh after STL Verdicts

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Some supporters of ex-PM Saad Hariri in the Beirut district of Tariq al-Jedideh on Tuesday expressed anger and disappointment at the verdicts issued by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon over Rafik Hariri’s assassination.

“If a police station in Tariq al-Jedideh had investigated this crime, it would have been a better result,” one man, driving away on a scooter, told a local television station.

MTV meanwhile reported that residents on the streets in Tariq al-Jedideh were split between “those disappointed by the STL verdict and those saying that they accept the ruling and do not want strife in the country.”

The U.N.-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon had earlier on Tuesday convicted one member of Hizbullah, Salim Ayyash, and acquitted three others of involvement in the 2005 assassination of Rafik Hariri.

The STL said Salim Ayyash was guilty as a co-conspirator of five charges linked to his involvement in the suicide truck bombing. Hariri and 21 others were killed and 226 were wounded in a huge blast outside a seaside hotel in Beirut on Feb. 14, 2005.

However, after a years-long investigation and trial, three other Hizbullah members were acquitted of all charges that they also were involved in the killing of Hariri, which sent shockwaves through the Mideast.

None of the suspects were ever arrested and were not in court to hear the verdicts.

The tribunal’s judges also said there was no evidence the leaderships of Hizbullah and Syria were involved in the attack, despite saying the assassination happened as Hariri and his political allies were discussing calling for an “immediate and total withdrawal of Syrian forces from Lebanon,” Presiding Judge David Re said.

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