(dpa) - Lebanese judicial authorities on Wednesday turned down a request to free four army generals who have been held without charge since August 2005 in connection with the assassination of ex- premier Rafik Hariri, a judicial source said.
"The judicial authorities refused to free the four men, who have pleaded their innocence in the assassination," the source said.
The four officers, who are believed to be close to the Syrian regime, are former presidential guard chief General Mustafa Hamdan, the former head of the general security department General Jamil Sayyed, the former head of the internal security forces General Ali Hajj and the former chief of army intelligence General Raymond Azar.
Syria has been widely accused of involvement in Hariri's murder but so far it has vehemently denied any involvement.
An international tribunal to try the suspects involved in the assassination is due to be set up after a UN investigative team completes its work.