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Syria's Ruling Party Expels Former VP as Demands Mount for Treason Trial


Syria's ruling Baath party has expelled former Vice President Abdel-Halim Khaddam and demanded he be tried for treason.

Sunday's action came two days after Mr. Khaddam implicated President Bashar al-Assad in the February 14 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, a staunch opponent of Syrian domination.

In Paris Friday, Mr. Khaddam said President Assad told Mr. Hariri he would destroy anyone who tried to hinder Syria's decison-making in Lebanon. He said the threat came just months before Mr. Hariri's death in a car bombing.

Sunday's statement from the Baath party's National Leadership, which is headed by President Assad, calls Mr. Khaddam a traitor to both Syria and the party.

A bill calling for Mr. Khaddam's treason trial passed unanimously in Syria's parliament on Saturday.

An ongoing United Nations probe has implicated high-level Syrian agents and their Lebanese counterparts in the killing of Mr. Hariri. Syria has denied any role.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AP and AFP.

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