Four Lebanese generals held over the 2005 killing of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri have been freed due to lack of evidence.
They were released by order of the UN court set up to investigate Hariri’s death, having been held without charge for nearly four years.
The generals’ supporters, mainly from the pro-Syrian Hezbollah movement, fired guns in the air and set off fireworks when they heard the news.
Hariri’s son Saad welcomed the decision, saying it showed the court had no political agenda:
“What has happened is a clear declaration that the international tribunal has started work and it will reveal the truth and will uphold justice in the name of God. I announce clearly and directly that I welcome any decision by the international court.”
Hariri and 22 others were killed by a suicide truck bomb in Beirut in February 2005. Some say Syria was behind the attack, although Damascus totally denies this.
The UN’s Special Tribunal for Lebanon only began work a month ago but now has no suspects in detention and has so far named no new ones.