In the evolution of the Beirut port explosion case, a judicial source and documents indicated that a Lebanese court on Thursday rejected the latest lawsuit against the chief investigator in the explosion investigation in the port of the capital, allowing him to resume work. , according to Reuters.
It should be noted that this is the second time that justice has rejected a similar case against him Tariq Bitar Because the court has no jurisdiction to examine it.
“Not a judge of the Court of Cassation”
A judicial source also told AFP that the Civil Court of Cassation had dismissed the case because the case did not fall within its jurisdiction, stressing that Bitar “is not a judge of the Court of Cassation”.
Following the move, Bitar is believed to set dates for the interrogation of current MP Ghazi Zuaiter and former Interior Minister Nohad al-Mashnouq, after being forced to cancel their two interrogation sessions. this week following the suspension of the investigation.
Supporters of Hezbollah and the Amal movement in the streets
At the same time, dozens of supporters demonstrated Hezbollah and the Amal movement In front of the Beirut courthouse, by refusing Bitar’s performance, political pressure on him intensified after his request to prosecute political and security officials.
Supporters of the Amal movement and Hezbollah near the Beirut courthouse on October 14, 2021 (Reuters)
In addition, the neighboring area of Tayouneh was the scene, alongside the demonstration, of clashes, heavy fire and rocket-propelled grenades, in which one person was killed and 8 others were injured.
Mariam Hassan, the emergency director of Al-Sahel hospital, said: “A dead man who was shot in the head arrived at the hospital, and there are 8 injured, including 3 in a critical condition “, according to AFP.
Local media also released video clips showing gunmen shooting in the streets, amid reports of snipers in buildings.
From the site of the clashes in Beirut (Reuters)
Accusation of “politicization”
It should be noted that this week, the investigation into the catastrophic explosion that occurred last year and left at least 214 people dead, was suspended after a complaint filed by two former ministers asking Tariq Bitar, who was trying to question them, to stop the case. . The two politicians are Ali Hassan Khalil and Ghazi Zuaiter, the current MPs belonging to the Amal Movement bloc led by the Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri.
The ministers of Hezbollah and its ally, the Amal Movement, lead the position which rejects Bitar’s work, accusing him of “discrimination and politicization”.
From the port of Beirut (Reuters archives)
Fears of isolating a farrier
In addition, many fear the pressure could lead to Bitar’s sacking, like his predecessor Fadi Sawan, who was sacked in February after his allegations against politicians.
Since his complaint against former Prime Minister Hassan Diab and his request to prosecute MPs, former ministers and security, 4 concerned ministers have lodged complaints in several courts demanding that the case be transferred from Bitar’s hand, l ‘forcing the investigation into the case to be suspended twice. until there. And on Tuesday, Bitar suspended the investigation pending a decision on the lawsuit filed in the Civil Court of Cassation by current MPs Ali Hassan Khalil and Ghazi Zuaiter.
From the port of Beirut (AFP file photo)
Tension in the cabinet
Of note, the government was scheduled to hold a Wednesday afternoon session to discuss the lead of the investigation, a day after the cabinet witnessed tensions after Hezbollah and Amal ministers demanded a change forensic investigator. However, Prime Minister Najib Mikati decided to postpone Wednesday’s meeting to a date to be determined later, pending a solution.
The dispute arose within the government after Bitar on Tuesday issued an in absentia arrest warrant against Khalil for his refusal to attend his interrogation, content to send one of his agents.
From the port of Beirut (Reuters archives)
It should be noted that a huge explosion rocked the port of Beirut on August 4, 2020, killing at least 214 people and injuring more than 6,500 others, in addition to massive destruction in the capital. Authorities attributed the explosion to the storage of large amounts of ammonium nitrate without protective measures. It turns out that officials at several levels were aware of the dangers of storing the substance.
The families of the victims constantly demonstrate in favor of Bitar and denounce the refusal of the defendants to appear before him for questioning, while human rights organizations denounce the politicians’ attempt to obstruct investigations, and call for the establishment an independent and impartial international fact-finding mission. .