Country – agencies
The judicial investigator in the Beirut Port explosion case sued four judges, including the Cassation Public Prosecutor, in an unprecedented measure that was rejected by the Cassation Public Prosecution yesterday (Tuesday), which heralds a judicial crisis amid political pressures that have obstructed the investigation since its inception.
Despite dozens of lawsuits calling for his removal, and his investigations were suspended for more than a year, Judge Tariq Bitar resumed his investigations into the explosion. Yesterday, he set a date for the interrogation of 13 defendants, to take place between February 6 and February 22 of the same month, within the framework of public lawsuits for crimes of murder, abuse, arson, and vandalism, all of which depend on probabilistic intent, without specific details about the charges against each of the defendants. .
The appointment of the interrogation dates came the day after he charged eight people, including the Public Prosecutor Ghassan Oweidat, in addition to three other judges, in an unprecedented measure in the history of Lebanon, a country where a culture of impunity prevails for decades and political interference disrupts the functioning of constitutional and judicial institutions due to interference. Hezbollah and its allies. The explosion on August 4, 2020, left more than 215 dead and 6,500 injured. From the beginning, the Lebanese authorities attributed the explosion to the storage of large quantities of ammonium nitrate inside the port without preventive measures, and the outbreak of a fire, the causes of which are unknown. It turned out later that officials at several levels were aware of the dangers of storing the substance, and did not move a finger. A judicial source stated that in 2019, Oweidat oversaw preliminary investigations conducted by the State Security Apparatus about the existence of gaps in Ward No. 12, where a shipment of ammonium nitrate was stored.