State Prosecutor Ghassan Oueidat has said there are no political backgrounds to the search procedure that Archbishop Mussa al-Hajj had been subjected to in Naqoura, negating that Mussa had been arrested or offended.
"Judge Fadi Akiki has enforced the law," Oueidat told Asharq al-Awsat newspaper, in remarks published Friday, as transporting products or money from Israel to Lebanon is illegal.
The Patriarch of the Diocese of Haifa and the Maronite Holy Land had been questioned for 12 hours earlier this week upon his return from Israel with large quantities of medicines, foodstuffs and canned goods, in addition to $460,000.
“The funds that he was transporting, around $460,000, are not owned by the church but they rather came from collaborators residing in Israel, the majority of whom work for the enemy in the occupied territories,” Akiki said in an interview.
"Transporting products from Israel is prohibited by law," Oueidat said, blaming the politicians who had criticized the move. "Do not attack the judiciary for enforcing a law that you have made," he said. "Amend the law, if you don't want it," he added.
The arrest of al-Hajj had drawn angry reactions from Christian leaders, who considered it "an attack on the Maronite Church".
Earlier this week, Maronite Patriarch Bechara al-Rahi headed an emergency meeting with other Maronite clerics , condemning al-Hajj's arrest, which they dubbed a "charade", and called for the case to be "closed immediately".
"We demand... the confiscated aid be returned to the archbishop so that it can reach its beneficiaries," they said in a statement.