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Lebanon: Questioning Yaacoub for his “involvement” in Hannibal Gadhafi kidnapping

THE LEVANT NEWS — BEIRUT: The Internal Security Forces’ Information Branch Saturday referred former Lebanese MP Hasan Yaacoub to Mount Lebanon’s First Investigative Judge Jean Fernini for his alleged involvement in last week’s Hannibal Gadhafi kidnapping, the state-run National News Agency reported Saturday.

The security agency wrapped up investigations with Yaacoub and referred him to the General Prosecution in Baabda, where an investigative judge will further question the former MP on Monday, the NNA said.

Yaacoub was arrested Thursday for his suspected involvement in the kidnapping of deposed Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s son last week, angering Yaacoub’s relatives and supporters.

“We trust the jurisdiction. We had feared that the information branch was fabricating charges and his (ex-MP Yaacoub’s) arbitrary detention would continue,” the detainee’s brother, Ali Yaacoub, told reporters outside the Justice Palace as he was surrounded by his the former lawmaker’s relatives and supporters who rallied in solidarity with him.

“Things are taking its normal course,” Ali said, urging protesters to abstain from blocking roads one day after demonstrators closed roads in several part of Lebanon, demanding his release.

He vowed that Yaacoub family would not escalate the situation, however, he left it to the tribes and residents of Bekaa to carry out whatever they see necessary.

“We have been always transparent in the case [of Sadr]. Even if [Hasan] will be held in custody for 32 years like his father, although there’s no evidence in linking him to the case, we will not agree on any settlements,” Ali said.

Yaacoub’s father went missing during an official visit to Libya in 1978 along with Imam Sayyed Musa Sadr and a journalist.

Ali slammed the political pressure in the case, saying: “we have received the message and we will respond accordingly.”

“The case is empty. The (ISF) Information Branch shattered the case. Let the jurisdiction issue its verdict.”

He said that Hasan hasn’t been charged yet, rejecting any “foreign settlements” that compare the freedom of the former MP with that of Gadhafi.

Protesters held banners backing Hasan. They chanted slogans in solidarity with him, saying he has been “treated unfairly.”

“You will see tonight and tomorrow what we are capable of doing in the Bekaa,” A demonstrator, identified as the mayor of Bednayel, threatened.

State Prosecutor Samir Hammoud, who ordered the arrest, told The Daily Star Friday that “the decision to arrest Yaacoub came after we received information and concrete evidence about his role in the kidnapping and hiding of Gadhafi’s son.”

Hammoud confirmed that the former MP would remain in custody until the conclusion of preliminary investigations and the testimonies of other detainees are heard.

“Later, an appropriate decision will be made to either free him or to charge him and refer (Yaacoub) to an investigating judge,” Hammoud said.

Hannibal Gadhafi is also being held as a witness in decades-long case of Shiite Imam Musa al-Sadr’s disappearence, despite the fact that he was an infant at the time. Yaacoub’s father and a journalist were accompanying Sadr when they disappeared during an official visit to Libya in 1978.

Moammar Gadhafi has been widely blamed for the trio’s disappearance, and Hannibal was charged Monday with concealing information about the case.

Four members of Yaacoub’s security detail were also arrested. Two were released Friday.

Security sources told The Daily Star that the state grew suspicious of Yaacoub’s involvement in the kidnapping after officials intercepted calls from his mobile phone to the group that abducted Hannibal in Syria.

A source confirmed that other suspects have been arrested for their involvement in the kidnapping, but could not identify them or say how many they were.

Reports indicate that Hannibal’s kidnappers handed him over to the former Zahle MP, who then transported him in his private car to the Bekaa valley.

Yaacoub has denied allegations of his involvement.

Source: The Daily Star

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