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IPI calls for justice for murdered journalists in light of UN STL indictments

(IPI/IFEX) - VIENNA, 22 July 2011 - Those who planted the car bomb that killed former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005 did not stop there. Among those targeted were journalists. In June 2005, history professor and An-Nahar columnist Samir Kassir was killed in a car bomb outside his house. Three months later, May Chidiac, a presenter for LBC television, survived a bomb in her car but lost an arm and a leg in the explosion. An-Nahar's chief editor and political leader Gebran Tueni was killed on 12 December that year.

Hariri and so many others were killed, some analysts believe, because he and his pro-Western supporters demanded an end to the Syrian presence in their country. The UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) has a mandate to investigate the murder of Hariri, but also attacks starting with the attempted murder of parliamentarian Marwan Hamadeh in October 2004, followed by other assassinations and attempts through the end of 2005 and beyond, if they are believed to be linked to Hariri's death and are agreed upon by the Lebanese government, the United Nations and the Security Council, according to the STL website.

"The Special Tribunal for Lebanon should continue its investigations not only into the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, but also into the murder and attempted murder of journalists in 2005," said IPI Press Freedom Manager Anthony Mills.

In late June, the Tribunal issued arrest warrants for four alleged members of the Shiite militant group Hezbollah, who are suspected of allegedly killing former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, marking the beginning of a judicial process that observers hope will bring closure to a country that has been waiting for answers since Hariri's death. Members of Interpol are now also on the alert for the four accused, lest they attempt to cross international borders.

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