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Lebanese terror suspect says he was a member of Hezbollah
THE 24-year-old Lebanese suspect who has been held by police since the summer claimed yesterday in court that he has nothing to do with terrorism and never wanted to hurt anyone.
Police suspect him of spying, being part of a terrorist organisation and for plotting a terrorist attack on an Israeli target.
The defendant faces eight counts of conspiracy and intent to commit a crime and participation in a criminal organisation. The suspect is a Swedish national of Lebanese descent who was arrested in Limassol in July. He was taken to Limassol Criminal Court yesterday as the trial continues, where his testimony, which was translated into Greek, was read out. He admitted he has been a member of Hezbollah for the last four years, claiming he was working as a member of the political party and not what many call the ‘terrorist’ branch, and although a Muslim, he has never supported fanatical Islam.
According to his testimony, he used the code name Wael and would receive orders from another Hezbollah member called Ayman, although he admitted he had no idea what Ayman looked like as whenever they met he would have his face hidden.
He also admitted that some of the orders he received in Cyprus were to locate places in Nicosia and Limassol where Israelis meet. He was told to get information about certain hotels in Ayia Napa as well as prices for renting a storeroom. He was also asked to monitor Limassol’s old hospital and to find out the security measures taken there and the procedure taken by a car to enter the parking lot, an event he photographed.
Asked about his continued visits to Larnaca Airport at the start of July 2012, shortly before he was arrested, the 24-year-old stated that was due to the car he had rented having problems. He was unable to answer questions relating to the registration numbers of tourist buses which were found in his red notebook.
He revealed that before coming to Cyprus he delivered packages, whose content he was not aware of, he claimed, to Attalya in Turkey, Lyon in France and Amsterdam in Holland.
He claimed to be receiving orders without the reasons being explained to him and that his actions in Cyprus were while he was already taking part in business activities.
He did admit to receiving training in the use of firearms, although he claimed that was part of the training methods he learned to help protect his country. He also admitted that all his travel expenses were covered by Hezbollah.
“I never wanted to hurt anyone, I have no affiliation with terrorism and I am not a member of a terrorist or criminal organisation and I don’t think Ayman would use explosives to harm anyone,” he said during his testimony.
He submitted Hezbollah’s 2009 manifesto as evidence, stating that it does not contain any mention of terrorism.
The prosecution asked for time to study his testimony and the manifesto. The trial will continue today at 9.30am with the prosecution’s cross-examination.