Samir Geagea’s political adviser Toufic Hindi and one-time Security chief Ghassan Touma have been indicted of collaborating with Israel and committed to trial before a Beirut military court on charges that carry the death penalty.
Indicted with them was journalist Antoine Bassil, who was accused of arranging Hindi’s meetings with Israeli officials during and after the Lebanese civil war to map out plans for massive anti-Syria agitation on the streets of Beirut.
This was the gist of the indictment that has been released by military examining magistrate Abdullah Hajj after 105 days of interrogations in the wake of the army’s crackdown on Geagea’s Lebanese Forces and Gen. Aoun’s activists last August.
No date has been set for the beginning of the trial. Hindi and Bassil are in custody. Touma will be tried in absentia. He left Lebanon after the civil war ended in 1990 and has since been living in the United States.
Touma carries several death sentences on his head, passed by Beirut military courts over the last seven years on charges of murder, bombings and crimes against state security. He often travels to Paris for talks with anti-Syria Lebanese exiles there.
Magistrate Hajj stated in the indictment that Hindi first traveled to Israel in an Israeli navy cruiser from Jounieh to Haifa with Bassil in 1986 at Geagea’s instructions. Hindi and Bassil met with Israel’s Lebanon coordinator and Mossad official Odid Zarai at the defense ministry in Jerusalem.
The main topic of discussion was a plan to oust Syria from Lebanon after Geagea overthrew former pro-Syrian LF chief Elie Hobeika and scuttled a Syrian-brokered tripartite accord he had concluded with Druze and Shiite warlords to end the sectarian conflict.
But since this meeting took place in 1986, the crime is covered by the 1991 Amnesty for all civil war crimes. Neither Hindi, nor Bassil, nor Geagea who instructed them to go to Israel would stand trial for contacts with the enemy at that time, according to the indictment.
Hindi and Bassil, instead, will be tried for meetings they held with Lubrani and Zarai in Paris and Cyprus in 1995 and onwards to “scheme against Lebanon’s external security and wreck Lebanon’s relations with a sister (Syria) country.”
In one of the Paris meetings the name of Lebanon’s foreign minister at the time, Fares Boueiz came up as a potential candidate for the presidency . The indictment quoted Hindi as confessing that Boueiz gave him $2,5000 for supporting his presidential bid.
Basil was quoted by the indictment as saying he once saw former media baron Henry Sfeir sitting with Lubrani in Nicosia “as if they were discussing the promotion of Sfeir for a senior government post in Lebanon.”
Hajj indicted LF student branch chief Salman Smaha and lawyer Elie Keyrouz of withholding information about Hindi’s contacts with the Israelis from the Lebanese authorities, an offence carrying a penalty of six months to three years in jail.