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Lebanon Clears Way for Return of Anti-Syrian Opposition Leader Aoun

Michel Aoun
A Lebanese magistrate has cleared the way for the return of exiled anti-Syrian opposition leader Michel Aoun, ahead of his planned homecoming from France on Saturday.

An investigating judge in Beirut Wednesday found that the former army general is covered by an amnesty that clears him of charges prior to 1991, when he was sent into exile. That ruling came as several thousand opposition demonstrators demanded freedom for another jailed anti-Syrian opposition leader, Samir Geagea.

The human rights group, Amnesty International, says the trial that sent Geagea to prison for life was not fair and it has called for his release or retrial.

Elsewhere, an armed guard at a Palestinian refugee camp in eastern Lebanon turned away a United Nations team sent to verify Syria's military withdrawal from the country. A Palestinian spokesman later called the stand-off a misunderstanding and said inspectors will be welcome if they return.

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