18 Jan 2011

Court issues charges over Lebanon PM murder

10:38 am on 18 January 2011

The United Nations-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon says its prosecutor has issued indictments for the murder of former Prime Minister, Rafik Hariri.

He and 22 other people died when a massive blast ripped through his motorcade in central Beirut in 2005, the BBC reports.

UN officials say the contents of the indictment will remain confidential until a judge endorses the draft indictments, but the names are widely believed to include members of the armed Shia group, Hezbollah.

Details of the charge sheet may not emerge for another six to 10 weeks.

However, in expectation of being named in the indictment, Hezbollah warned it would defend itself.

Last week, Hezbollah and its allies brought down Lebanon's government in a dispute over the special tribunal.

Hezbollah says the court is a US and Israeli plot designed to discredit it, and has demanded that Lebanon cease all co-operation.

Amid the political crisis, talks on naming a new prime minister have been postponed until next week, the BBC says.