On Thursday, a Lebanese court rejected the claims of former Prime Minister Hassan Diab and 3 other ministers who tried to sue the state over the Beirut port explosion.
Reuters quoted a senior judicial source as saying that a Lebanese high court had rejected the claims of Diab and his three ministers, who sought to sue the state over the conduct of the investigative judge in the explosion that occurred in Beirut on August 4, 2020.
Lawyer Nizar Saghieh of the Legal Agenda Foundation confirmed that the lawsuits filed last month had caused the suspension of the investigation led by Judge Tariq Al-Bitar, but he is still unable to proceed with the investigation pending a separate court ruling.
The General Authority of the Court of Cassation rejected the lawsuits submitted by former Prime Minister Hassan Diab and former ministers Nohad Al-Machnouk, Ghazi Zuaiter and Ali Hassan Khalil, alleging that Al-Bitar had committed “grave mistakes” in the investigation.
The four were charged in connection with the explosion, but they denied any wrongdoing and refused to be interrogated by Al-Bitar, claiming that he had no authority to try them.
Al-Bitar does not make any public statements pursuant to the regulations for judges.
Families of Beirut bombing victims who visited al-Bitar said he told them that he would continue to seek to interrogate senior officials until he was removed from the case.
Judge Bitar sent a letter to the Lebanese Parliament through the Discriminatory Public Prosecution, requesting the lifting of the parliamentary immunity of former Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil, former Minister of Public Works Ghazi Zuaiter and former Interior Minister Nohad Machnouk, in preparation for prosecution and prosecution in the case.
The judicial investigator also requested the government’s presidency to give permission to interrogate the head of the State Security Apparatus, Major General Tony Saliba, as a defendant.
Not only that, but he requested permission from the Lebanese Minister of Interior in the caretaker government, Brigadier General Muhammad Fahmy, to claim and prosecute the Director-General of the General Security Agency, Major General Abbas Ibrahim, but the failure to lift their immunities prevented him from investigating them.