Lebanon delays Hariri murder case verdict after Beirut blast
The verdict will be delayed until August 18, the STL said, just a day after the massive explosion along Beirut’s coastline claimed the lives of more than 100 people, according to an initial death toll.
The move comes "out of respect for the countless victims" of Tuesday's Beirut blast, a statement said.
"The Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) is deeply saddened and shocked by the tragic events that shook Lebanon yesterday. The Tribunal expresses its solidarity with the Lebanese people in these difficult times," it said in a statement.
"Today, the STL Trial Chamber issued a scheduling order postponing the pronouncement of the Judgment in the Ayyash et al. case, which it had scheduled for Friday 7 August 2020. This was out of respect for the countless victims of the devastating explosion that shook Beirut on 4 August, and the three-day of public mourning in Lebanon," the court added.
The Trial Chamber will instead deliver the verdict on Tuesday 18 August 2020, the STL statement noted, adding it would fly its flag at half-mast to honour the victims of the blast, including the dead, wounded and missing.
The verdict is expected to announce the fate of four suspected Hezbollah members tried in absentia for former Lebanese premier Rafic Hariri's murder in a 2005 Beirut car bombing.
A massive bomb tore through Hariri's armoured convoy as he drove home for lunch on Valentine's Day 2005, killing him and 21 other people including seven of his bodyguards, as well as wounding 226 others.
Read also: Lebanon: from Hariri assassination to verdict
The Lebanese Shia movement does not recognise the Netherlands-based Special Tribunal for Lebanon, denies all the accusations and has refused to hand over the accused.
Agencies contributed to this report.