November 7, 2005

U.N. wants to quiz Assad’s brother-in-law

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's
brother-in-law is among six Syrian officers U.N. investigators
want to interview in Lebanon over the killing of ex-premier
Rafik al-Hariri, a Lebanese political source said on Monday.

The source said Major General Assef Shawkat, head of
military intelligence who is married to Assad's sister Bushra,
was on a list of six names sent to Damascus by chief U.N.
investigator Detlev Mehlis requesting that they be questioned
at the inquiry's headquarters east of Beirut.

The other five were Major General Bahjat Suleiman,
Lieutenant General Rustom Ghazali, Lieutenant General Thafer
Youssef, Lieutenant General Abdul-Karim Abbas and officer Jamea

Suleiman was the head of the internal security branch at
the general intelligence department when Hariri was killed on
February 14 in Beirut.

Ghazali was head of the Syrian intelligence in Lebanon and
Jamea was an aide.

Both Youssef and Abbas were receiving training at a
military academy in Beirut at the time of the assassination.
Abbas is an officer at the military security body headed by

A Syrian official said earlier in the day Damascus was
considering a formal U.N. request to question six Syrian
officials in Lebanon in connection with Hariri's murder.

He gave no details on the identity of those named on the