AMSTERDAM/BEIRUT (Reuters) - The U.N.-backed Lebanon tribunal released on Friday the names, photographs and details of four men wanted for the assassination of statesman Rafik al-Hariri in a bid to speed up their arrest.
Lebanon received the indictments and four arrest warrants from the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) last month. While the suspects were not named then, Lebanese officials said the accused were members of the Shi'ite militant movement Hezbollah.
Hezbollah accuses the tribunal of being a U.S. and Israeli tool and denies any link to the 2005 assassination. Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said this month that indicted members of his group would never be arrested.
The suspects named were Mustafa Amine Badreddine, a senior Hezbollah figure and brother-in-law of slain Hezbollah commander Imad Moughniyeh, as well as Salim Jamil Ayyash, Hussein Hassan Oneissi and Assad Hassan Sabra.
Pre-trial judge Daniel Fransen ordered the lifting of confidentiality on the full names, aliases, biographical information, photographs and charges against the individuals named in the indictment, the tribunal said in a statement.
"The Prosecutor further submits that making the requested information available in public for a may increase the likelihood of apprehending the accused in the event that any of them are noticed by the public," the tribunal said in a statement.
Hariri's assassination in February 2005 plunged Lebanon into a series of political crises, killings and bombings which led to sectarian clashes in May 2008, dragging the country back to the brink of civil war.
(Reporting by Sara Webb in Amsterdam and Oliver Holmes in Beirut; editing by Mark Heinrich)