Nasrallah denies accusations linking group to activist killing
16 Feb 2021
(See Translation in Arabic Section)
Lebanon - Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on Tuesday dismissed accusations of any links between the group and the killing of researcher and activist Lokman Slim.
"Any incident that happens in your area then you are accused until the opposite is proven? Is this something that is practiced in the whole wide world? Where else is this logic present?" Nasrallah said in a televised speech.
Activist Lokman Slim was shot and found dead in his car in south Lebanon earlier in February, marking the first killing of a high-profile activist in years.
He was a critic of the Iran-backed Hezbollah group. His sister has suggested he was murdered because of those views.
Hezbollah has previously condemned the killing.
A filmmaker and publisher, Slim had spoken out against what he called Hezbollah's intimidation tactics and attempts to monopolise Lebanese politics.
Nasrallah was also critical on Tuesday about blame pointed at the group for involvement in the Aug. 4 Beirut blast that killed 200 people.
"Hezbollah is guilty until proven otherwise - what kind of a rule is that? ...Beirut port - you, Hezbollah, blew up Beirut port until the truth about the explosion is revealed," he said.
The judicial investigation into the blast is still under way in Lebanon with judge Fadi Sawan having charged caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab, whose cabinet quit after the blast, and three former ministers with negligence.
Sawan is due to interrogate one of the three former ministers, Youssef Finianos, a Hezbollah ally sanctioned by the United States for his links to the group that Washington considers a terrorist organisation.
"Our information says that the technical investigation ended and the army sent it to the judge...we asked that day the army and internal security to reveal the results of that investigation ....we are repeating our call for this and we insist on it."
The explosion, one of the biggest non-nuclear blasts in history, added further strains to a country struggling with its worst crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war.
It was caused by a massive quantity of ammonium nitrate stored unsafely for years.
In relation to the government formation, Nasrallah said: “Everyone wants to form a government and no one does not want that.”
He demanded "not to wait for the outside, because the outside cannot help us if we do not help ourselves."
Nasrallah pointed out that "external pressures may push some people to stiffen up," considering that high ceilings complicate the issue.
He continued: "Holding the responsibility to His Excellency the President of the Republic is unfair, expressing his" understanding of the concern of the PM designate in charge of the obstructing third, but we do not understand his insistence on a group of 18 ministers, while if it were 20 or 22, it reassures everyone. "
He hoped to "reconsider this problem because it may be an entrance or exit from the situation we have reached."
Turning to the issue of understanding with the Free Patriotic Movement, Nasrallah referred to "the media and political pressure and the exploitation of any incident in order to bring down this alliance," stressing that "this alliance has not fallen and will not fall because it has achieved a set of interests for the country and the parties to the understanding."
He continued, "We are both keen on the alliance, and to prevent the stalkers with any loophole or word issued from affecting the strength of the alliance."
He stressed "the strength of this relationship, and great care with all allies and personalities."