The Special Tribunal for Lebanon announced today, Tuesday, that a Hezbollah member convicted of murdering former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and in hiding cannot appeal the verdict against him unless he turns himself in.
Salim Ayyash was convicted in absentia and sentenced to life in prison last year by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, based in the Netherlands, for the murder of Hariri in a suicide bombing in Beirut in 2005.
Ayyash, 57, is still hidden from view, and the Secretary-General of “Hezbollah” Hassan Nasrallah refused to hand him over or recognize the legitimacy of the court, according to what was reported by “Agence France-Presse.”
Ayyash’s defense lawyers appealed the verdict in January, but the court decided by a majority of its judges on Tuesday that “this appeal is not admissible.”
A statement issued by the court said that the decision came “based on the legal framework for procedures in absentia in the court, which does not include the possibility of the defense filing an appeal in absentia.”
The statement added, “Mr. Ayyash did not appoint the defense lawyers or accept their legal representation, and he is in hiding and has not been found. The arrest warrant issued against Mr. Ayyash is still not executed.”
Ayyash faces other charges in a separate case before the court related to three attacks on politicians in Lebanon, whose hearings are scheduled to begin in June.
In March, the United States offered a $ 10 million reward to anyone who provides information on Ayyash’s whereabouts.