Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Hundreds of Lebanese protest against suspension of Beirut port blast investigation


Hundreds of Lebanese people, led by the families of the victims of Wednesday’s Beirut port blast, protested in front of the Beirut Palace, demanding the removal of the judicial inspector two days after the trial was adjourned in the wake of political interference and legal complaints.

In addition to widespread destruction in the capital, the largest eruption on August 4, 2020, killed at least 214 people and injured more than 6,500, the second time it had been suspended. Authorities said they had stored large amounts of ammonium nitrate without safety measures. It was later revealed that officials at various political, security and judicial levels were aware of the dangers of storing this material and did nothing.

On Wednesday afternoon, a group of protesters were able to enter the inner courtyard of the Judicial Palace, where the Judicial Inspector’s Office is located. They hung a large banner with pictures of the victims with the caption “You Won’t Kill Us Twice”.

In front of the Palace of Justice, families raised pictures and placards with slogans such as “The case is bigger than a judge … the real cause”, “People defend justice” and “We will never forget.” Also uploaded an attached image.

“We have been suffering for 13 months due to the interference of politicians and faction leaders in the investigation,” said Rima al-Zahid, a port worker, who was killed in the bombing.

“When I learned that the investigation had been stopped, we felt betrayed again. They killed us a second time (…) as if they were killing us while we were breathing,” he added.

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Many fear that the allegations against former Prime Minister Hassan Daib and his plea to prosecute MPs, former ministers and security officials could lead to the dismissal of Judicial Analyst Tariq Bidar by political pressure. Who was fired in February after a lawsuit against Diab and three former ministers.

Prior to his dismissal, Sawan adjourned the hearing after requesting two ministers to remove the case from his hands.

On Monday, Bitter suspended the investigation into a case filed by former Interior Minister Nouhat al-Magnouk.

About five months after receiving the file, Bidar announced in July that he wanted to prosecute Diab as a defendant, and sent a letter to parliament calling for the removal of three former ministers’ parliamentary immunity: deputies Ali Hassan Khalil (money) and Ghazi Juaider (works), both members of the steering committee. . Amal, who is affiliated with Hezbollah, and Noah al-Magnook, who belong to the future movement led by Saad Hariri.

It was a precursor to prosecution of them for possible offenses of murder and offenses such as negligence and negligence because they were aware of the presence of ammonium nitrate and “did not take action to avert the risk of explosion in the country”.

The suspension of the trial witnessed several interrogations by military and political officials earlier in the week. Last week, the General Secretariat of Parliament rejected notices sent by Bitter to question three delegates, citing Parliament’s reliance on legislation restricting the trial of presidents and ministers to a special court set up by judges and deputies.

Since the eruption, authorities have rejected an international investigation, while human rights organizations, the families of the victims and survivors of the eruption have condemned the efforts of political leaders to disrupt the investigation.

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Rolf Colon
Rolf Colon
"Creator. Award-winning problem solver. Music evangelist. Incurable introvert."

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