Hariri suspect taken to hospital

A Lebanese former security chief arrested in connection with the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri has been taken to hospital with heart trouble, his lawyer confirmed on Wednesday.

Security sources said Brigadier General Raymond Azar, former head of military intelligence, was taken from prison to a Beirut hospital late on Tuesday and was in intensive care.

"He suffered from high blood pressure which affected his heart after the prison authorities asked his family to meet him in the same waiting room with dozens of ordinary detainees," Naji al-Boustani, Azar's lawyer, told.

"They cited lame security excuses for this… He was moved to hospital but he is not in a critical condition," he added.

Azar and three other top pro-Syrian former security chiefs have been detained in Lebanon on murder charges over the February 14 killing of Hariri and 22 other people in a Beirut truck bombing.

U.N. investigators last week questioned Colonel Ghassan Tufayli, whose surveillance unit in military intelligence constantly wiretapped Hariri's telephone calls and passed transcripts to Azar and Army Chief General Michel Suleiman.

Many Lebanese blamed Syria for Hariri's assassination from the outset. Damascus has denied any role but ended its 29-year military presence in Lebanon in April following Lebanese street protests and an international outcry over Hariri's killing, Reuters reports.


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