The Army has released a videotape purporting to show senior LF aide Toufic Hindi confessing to a telephone conversation in Paris with an Israeli government official on a plan to mount a public campaign extensively covered by the international media to force Syria to leave Lebanon.
Hindi, political advisor to LF’s jailed leader Samir Geagea, purportedly said in the recorded tape that was broadcasted by Beirut TV networks Sunday evening that his telephone talks with Oded Zaray, media advisor to Israel’s coordinator of Lebanon Uri Lubrani was arranged by LF most wanted runaway security chief Ghassan Touma.
Jurists and legal experts noted on Monday that the video cannot be used as evidence in a court of law because it was obviously taken with a hidden camera without Hindi’s consent. They also noted that the tape was heavily doctored and words could have been pasted together and taken out of context.
They also questioned the legality of the interview, which was conducted by Prosector-General Adnan Addoum at the defense ministry compound in Yarze instead of his official offices in Beirut.
Broadcast of the Hindi recording was made on the eve of a an anticipated heated debate in parliament Monday on the heave-handed army crackdown on the LF and exiled Gen. Michel Aoun’s Free Patriotic Front last week.
An inflamatory topic on the agenda is a draft bill tabled by 10 legislators to reverse a law passed only two weeks ago with a majority of 81 in the 128-seat parliament that curbed the powers of prosecutors in Lebanon. The new bill reinstates much of the curtailed powers.
The release of the Hindi tape came with a statement form the Lebanese Army warning that the last wave of arrests has uncovered a plot to overthrow the Lahoud regime, to drive the Syrian army out with Israeli assistance and partition Lebanon in sectarian mini-states. The alleged confession may impclicate others in the case, according to the army statement.
Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir scoffed at the partition scheme in a sermon he delivered at the chapel of his seat in Bkirki on Sunday. “If that intension is true, why didn’t they enforce the partition when they had the military might to do so during the civil war,” the patriarch said.
He also deplored as “shame that smeared the image of Lebanon” the savage beating of young students protesting at the Justice Palace premises by plainclothes security agents whose identity could not be determined.