BEIRUT — Saudi Foreign Affairs Minister "applauds" the Special Tribunal for Lebanon’s life sentencing of two alleged members of Hezbollah for the 2005 attack — which killed 21 people, including former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, and injured 226 others — calling on the international community to “Implement [the STL’s] decisions,” the Saudi Press Agency reported.
Here’s what we know:
• While welcoming the sentence, the Saudi diplomat called on for the international community “to assume its responsibilities with respect to Lebanon and its people which suffer from the absurd terrorist practices of the Iran-backed militia.”
• The call to the international community demanded “The implementation of the STL decisions and the tracking of the convicts who contributed to the death of innocents and provoked and unprecedented chaos in the country,” adding that the issue must be “handled so that justice can be served and the crises Lebanon and its people have been facing over the past decades due to terrorist practices can be alleviated.”
• Thursday, the STL sentenced in absentia Hussein Oneissi and Hassan Habib Merhi for their involvement in the Feb. 14, 2005 terrorist attack to multiple life sentences to be served concurrently — the severest sentence it can impose. The pair had been convicted on appeal in March, prompting United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres to “demand everyone respect the STL decision.” However, both men and Salim Ayache, who had been convicted by the STL in 2020, remain in hiding as Hezbollah refuses to turn them in.
• Rafik Hariri was a Saudi national, naturalized after working in the country’s construction sector. His sons, Saad and Bahaa, reacted to the sentencing Thursday the first described the sentence as “the clearest in terms of condemning Hezbollah as the party responsible for organizing and committing the crime” and the second said, “The era of impunity has ended.”