Lebanese justice minister Ashraf Rifi resigns

Lebanese justice minister resigns, citing reasons related to Michel Samaha not being put on trial

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Lebanon’s justice minister Ashraf Rifi resigned on Sunday, citing reasons related to former minister Michel Samaha being freed on bail last month and not being brought to trial, Al Arabiya News Channel reported.

Rifi also cited “unacceptable practices” being carried out by Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah's “statelet and its allies,” according to the Daily Star Lebanon.


The outgoing minister accused Hezbollah of breaking up the state and placing Lebanon's ties with Arab nations in the "worst dangers," the news site added.

Earlier this week, Rifi announced that he had decided to refer Samaha’s case the International Criminal Court, accusing some members of the cabinet of blocking the referral of the proceedings to Lebanon's Judicial Council.

Samaha was freed on bail after serving a jail term for smuggling explosives into Lebanon from Syria and planning attacks, the national news agency said.

Samaha was sentenced to 4-1/2 years in prison in May, having been detained since August 2012. A jail year in Lebanon is nine months.

A military court released him on bail, secured by 150 million Lebanese pounds ($100,000).

(With Reuters)

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