BY IKECHUKWU NNOCHIRI
ABUJA—Lebanese suspect, Mustapha Fawaz, accused of complicity in the illegal importation of arms into Nigeria, Monday, secured an order granting him access to two of his properties. They are Amigo Supermarket Limited and Wonderland Amusement Park Resort, both situated in Abuja, hirtherto seized by the Federal Government.
Fawaz is the first accused person in an ongoing terrorism case before Abuja Division of the Federal High Court.
The Federal Government had in a 16-count charge it preferred against him and two of his compatriots, Abdullahi Thahini and Tahal Roda, alleged that they belonged to the military wing of a Lebanon-based terrorist organisation, Hezbollah, just as it called 10 witnesses and tendered over 25 exhibits with a view to proving their involvement in the operations of the organisation in Nigeria.
The exhibits which included guns, cartridge belt holders with ammunitions, pellets for Air Rifles, 150 cartridges, 158 rounds of cartridges, two bound copies of still pictures of arms and ammunition allegedly discovered in one of their premises at No 3 Gaya Road, off Bompai Road in Kano, two video CDs and witness statements, were admitted into evidence by the court.
Besides, the court took possession of the sum of $61, 170 which one of the suspects, Mr Thahini, allegedly attempted to smuggle out of the country on May 11, 2013, even as one of the government witnesses, told the court that the accused person made frantic efforts to bribe officials of the Department of State Services, DSS, that apprehended him at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport when he tried to escape the country to Beirut via a Middle East airline.
However, the accused persons who concluded their defence, refuted all the allegations, insisting that they were separately manhandled by foreign agents who they said belong to an Israeli security outfit, Mossad.
The suspects took turns and narrated in the court how they were brutally tortured by six Israeli agents and a masked white man for 14 days while in custody of the DSS, adding that they were not only denied food for days, but forced to undergo a polygraph test with threat that they would be committed to prison to be raped my Nigerian inmates should they fail to admit belonging to Hezbollah.
The accused persons brought a lawyer from Lebanon who gave his name as Youssef Finianos, to testify before the trial court.
In his testimony, Finianos, maintained that Hezbollah was a political party in Lebanon, though he admitted that about seven years ago, an organisation that named itself Hezbollah, hijacked a plane and took its passengers hostage.
He told the court that Hezbollah political organisation had one Hassan Lasvella as its head, “It is like a resistant movement, though some countries consider Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation. I am aware that in July 2013, the European Union, labeled Hezbollah as a terrorist group,” the witness added.
In his testimony, the second accused person, Thahini, who admitted that the sum of $61, 170 was found in his handbag, said it was revenue that accrued to him from a business he did in Nigeria, saying he was travelling to Lebanon to buy goods the day he was apprehended by the DSS.
He told the court that he was already cleared by the immigration and was on his way to the declaration desk to register the money on him before two DSS officials sandwiched him and took him to their office in Kano.
However, upon cross examination by the Director of Public Prosecution, Mr Simon Egede, the accused, admitted that he had never declared money on him on several occasions he travelled outside Nigeria, noting that at a point he had left the country with $15, 000 without declaring it to the relevant authorities.