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News ID: 91944
Publish Date : 02 July 2021 - 21:45
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BEIRUT (Reuters) – The judge in charge of the investigation into the Beirut port blast will seek to question top politicians and security officials, Lebanon’s national news agency said on Friday, almost a year after the explosion that devastated the capital.
The blast in August, blamed on a huge quantity of chemicals left for years in poor storage conditions, deepened a political and economic crisis in the country. The explosion that killed hundreds of people, injured thousands and ruined whole neighborhoods in the centre of Beirut.
Judge Tarek Bitar, who became the lead investigator into the blast after his predecessor was removed in February, will call in caretaker prime minister Hassan Diab and others, the agency said, although it said no dates had yet been set.
He has also written to parliament asking to lift immunity from former Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil, former Public Works Minister Ghazi Zeaiter and former Interior Minister Nohad Machnouk as a first step towards charging them.
Zeaiter, a parliamentary deputy from speaker Nabih Berri’s bloc, told Reuters he had only heard of the charges from media and did not wish to comment.
The caretaker prime minister, Khalil and other listed as targets for questioning by the judge could not immediately be reached for comment.
Diab and the same ex-officials were charged last year by judge Fadi Sawan, who previously led the probe.
Judge Bitar also asked for permission from caretaker Interior Minister Mohamed Fahmy to question Lebanon’s security chief Abbas Ibrahim, the agency said.
Fahmy told Reuters he had not been notified yet about the process but would take all legal steps required once he was.
Bitar’s list included another former public works minister, Youssef Finianos, and Tony Saliba, the head of state security.BEIRUT (Reuters) – The judge in charge of the investigation into the Beirut port blast will seek to question top politicians and security officials, Lebanon’s national news agency said on Friday, almost a year after the explosion that devastated the capital.
The blast in August, blamed on a huge quantity of chemicals left for years in poor storage conditions, deepened a political and economic crisis in the country. The explosion that killed hundreds of people, injured thousands and ruined whole neighborhoods in the centre of Beirut.
Judge Tarek Bitar, who became the lead investigator into the blast after his predecessor was removed in February, will call in caretaker prime minister Hassan Diab and others, the agency said, although it said no dates had yet been set.
He has also written to parliament asking to lift immunity from former Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil, former Public Works Minister Ghazi Zeaiter and former Interior Minister Nohad Machnouk as a first step towards charging them.
Zeaiter, a parliamentary deputy from speaker Nabih Berri’s bloc, told Reuters he had only heard of the charges from media and did not wish to comment.
The caretaker prime minister, Khalil and other listed as targets for questioning by the judge could not immediately be reached for comment.
Diab and the same ex-officials were charged last year by judge Fadi Sawan, who previously led the probe.
Judge Bitar also asked for permission from caretaker Interior Minister Mohamed Fahmy to question Lebanon’s security chief Abbas Ibrahim, the agency said.
Fahmy told Reuters he had not been notified yet about the process but would take all legal steps required once he was.
Bitar’s list included another former public works minister, Youssef Finianos, and Tony Saliba, the head of state security.%MCEPASTEBIN%

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