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New Samaha video
leaked to press

The former minister revealed in his interrogation that he coordinated with Syrian security chief Ali Mamlouk.

Michel Samaha speaks to interrogators. (YouTube/MTV)

BEIRUT – A new video of Michel Samaha’s interrogation following his 2012 arrest has been leaked to the media, in which the former minister who was found guilty of plotting terror attacks reveals how he coordinated with a top Syrian regime figure.

 

Lebanese TV stations, including Al-Jadeed, Future News and MTV, on Sunday evening broadcast the short excerpt of Samaha’s August 9, 2012 interrogation session with Internal Security Forces investigators.

 

In the video, Samaha—who was smoking a cigarette throughout the questioning—revealed that he had met in the Syrian capital with Ali Mamlouk, the Assad regime’s National Security Bureau chief.

 

“I went to see General Ali in his office,” the disgraced Lebanese politician said, adding that they discussed his efforts to procure explosives from Adnan, a Syrian army colonel whose last name remains unknown.

 

Samaha confessed in the video that after meeting Mamlouk, the following day Adnan “took the car and brought the goods,” an implicit reference to the explosives he then proceeded to transport across the border in Lebanon.

 

The taped confession was made the same day that Samaha was arrested in 2012 during a pre-dawn security forces raid on his residence.

 

Samaha was formally indicted in February 2013 alongside Mamlouk on charges of “transporting explosives from Syria to Lebanon to assassinate political and religious leaders.”

 

Despite the grave charges, the former tourism and information minister was handed a light four-and-a-half year prison sentence in May 2015, which with time served meant he was set for release in December.

 

In June, Lebanon’s Military Court of Cassation accepted an appeal to hold a re-trial of Samaha in-lieu of his short sentence. The re-trial has been beset by a number of delays, only kicking off on December 17.

 

Samaha was released from prison on January 14, sparking condemnation from anti-Assad Lebanese politicians as well as Sunni Muslims, who were set to be targeted by Samaha’s planned terror attacks.

 

Previous leaked videos

 

As the political furor grew over Samaha’s original sentence, a number of Lebanese TV stations aired excerpts from videos showing him caught plotting terror attacks in a sting operation.

 

Samaha can be seen in the videos speaking with Milad Kfoury, an informant for Lebanon’s Internal Security Forces who the former minister entrusted with explosives and money in return for targeting political and religious figures in northern Lebanon.

 

In one of the videos—which was filmed surreptitiously by the informant—Samaha hands Kfoury a bag filled with $170,000 and asks, “Should I count them?”

 

The former minister also tells Kfoury that he has two explosive devices weighing 20 kilograms each, and adds that detonators have been prepared as well.

 

Samaha can also be heard reassuring Kfoury that only Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his political security chief know about the plot and that the informant will be “100% protected.”

 

In another video, the Lebanese figure states explicitly that the terror plot can target Akkar MP Khaled Daher, his brother, Free Syrian Army officials, and “a gathering of Syrian gunmen at a certain place.”

 

Samaha also expressed his indifference regarding civilian casualties, telling Kfoury in the previous video excerpt that “collateral damage is allowed.”

 

Yet another video shows Samaha handing over explosives to Kfoury in the former’s residence in Beirut’s Ashrafieh quarter.

Michel Samaha speaks to interrogators. (YouTube/MTV)