Judge Tarek al-Bitar also charged then-Prime Minister Hassan Diab and two former ministers with “homicide with probable intent,” according to a court summons seen by Reuters on Tuesday.
The two sources added that Judge Tariq Al-Bitar, who unexpectedly resumed an investigation that was paralyzed due to high-level political resistance, set a date for the interrogation of the discriminatory Public Prosecutor, Judge Ghassan Oweidat, next February.
Al-Bitar’s efforts to interrogate senior officials about the explosion, which killed 220 people and caused widespread destruction in Beirut, faltered due to the harassment of parties such as Hezbollah.
Judiciary officials said that Al-Bitar also brought charges against Major General Abbas Ibrahim, Director General of Public Security, and Major General Tony Saliba, Director General of State Security, in connection with the explosion, in addition to former army commander Jean Kahwaji.
The two judicial sources said that the interrogations of 15 people will be scheduled for next February, including senior security officials, Oweidat, two former ministers, and Diab.
And all those whom Al-Bitar accused earlier, regarding the Beirut port explosion case, denied that they were guilty.--
Hundreds of tons of ammonium nitrate caused the explosion that occurred on August 4, 2020, and the chemical had been stored at the port in poor storage conditions since its cargo landed at the port in 2013. Until now, no senior state official has been held responsible for the explosion.-
Al-Bitar met with French judges who visited Beirut, last week, as part of a French investigation into the explosion, which included two French citizens among its victims. He could not share the documents with them because the investigation was frozen.
The politicians Al-Bitar sought to interrogate, including Hezbollah allies, have filed dozens of legal challenges to contest Al-Bitar’s right to question them and say he overstepped his authority.
The investigation was brought to a standstill in early 2022 by the retirement of judges from a court that must adjudicate several complaints against Al-Bitar before it can continue the investigation.
The court was waiting for new judges to be appointed to resume its work, a step the authorities did not take.