News ID: 94816
Publish Date : 27 September 2021 - 21:54

Beirut Blast Probe Suspended After Request to Remove Judge

BEIRUT (Al Jazeera) – The Beirut port blast inquiry has been suspended after accused former Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk formally notified the investigator of the request to dismiss him from the case.
As per Lebanese law, Judge Tarek Bitar was forced to halt the investigation.
He had already filed new requests to the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities to summon General Security Chief Major-General Abbas Ibrahim and State Security Chief Major-General Tony Saliba on Monday, and had to cancel the scheduled interrogations with two brigadier-generals.
The judiciary will determine whether Bitar will continue leading the inquiry.
Machnouk, a sitting parliamentarian, as well as ex-Public Works Minister Youssef Finianos, requested to remove Bitar from the blast investigation last week, accusing the judge of bias and misconduct.
More than 200 people were killed in the Beirut blast on August 4, 2020, after a huge stockpile of ammonium nitrate, which had been stored unsafely at the port for years, detonated.
About 6,500 people were injured and entire neighborhoods in Lebanon’s capital were destroyed.
The blast was one of the largest non-nuclear explosions recorded and was the most destructive single incident in the country’s troubled history.