Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati considered the suspension of the investigation into the explosion of the port of Beirut last year as a “judicial order.” Principal Tariq Bitar in his position, pointing out that Lebanon cannot afford to dismiss a second judge in the case of the explosion. A judicial order and I personally do not interfere with the judiciary. I hope that he will continue his mission in a balanced way and we want to investigate,” according to Reuters. It has the necessary protection and we have begun to take security precautions regarding the threats that were said to have affected Judge Bitar.”
It is noteworthy that an investigation into the catastrophic explosion in the port of Beirut was halted earlier Monday, for the second time this year, when a senior politician raised Wanted for interrogation is a case against the chief investigator in the case for suspicion of impartiality.
The step came after the elite The Lebanese politician launched a smear campaign against Judge Tariq Bitar, who was appointed to lead the investigation after similar accusations were made to his predecessor by politicians he wanted to interrogate on suspicion of negligence. Among the senior officials responsible for the killing of more than 200 people and the injury of thousands of others due to the stabbing of parties, including the Hezbollah militia and others from the ruling class, in the impartiality of the investigation. , about a huge amount of ammonium nitrate that has been unsafely stored in the port since 2013.
The investigation was suspended on Monday after the lawsuit filed by Nohad Al-Mashnouq, a former deputy and minister of the interior, who Bitar requested to be questioned on suspicion of negligence. A judicial source told Reuters that investigation sessions will be suspended until the Court of Cassation decides whether to accept or reject the case.
In response to the action taken on Monday, Ibrahim Hoteit, a representative of the families of the victims who has a brother who was killed in the explosion, said: “There is great resentment among the people. There is a kind of disgust on the part of the political class.”
Families who accuse the political class of exploiting the immunities they enjoy have also demanded an international investigation, saying that the Lebanese investigation stops after every time it starts.
It is reported that Bitar has faced opposition since last July when officials refused to lift the immunity of a number of former ministers and security officials whom the judge requested to investigate.
Last month, Hassan Nasrallah, Secretary-General of Hezbollah, accused Bitar worked in politics, describing the investigation as “politicized.”
It is noteworthy that former investigative judge Fadi al-Sawwan, Bitar’s predecessor, was dismissed last February for similar reasons.
From the Beirut Port Explosion (archive)
Interrogation Request and Order Arrest
In July, Bitar submitted a request to question Prime Minister Hassan Diab and other senior officials whom the prosecution accused of negligence in connection with the explosion. Everyone denied any wrongdoing.
On September 16, he issued an arrest warrant for the former Minister of Public Works, Youssef Fenianos, after he was absent from a summons for interrogation, and this was the first arrest warrant for an official in the case.
In addition, a document seen by Reuters and sent a little more than two weeks before the explosion showed that President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Hassan Diab were informed of the dangers posed by chemicals and that they could destroy the capital.