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the judge in charge of the investigation prosecuted for “rebellion”

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The legal imbroglio underway since the beginning of the week in Lebanon took a new turn with the announcement by the Attorney General on Wednesday of the launch of proceedings against Judge Tarek Bitar, the magistrate in charge of the investigation into the deadly explosion at the port of Beirut in 2020. The latter had himself charged prosecutor Ghassan Oueidate on Tuesday, the day after the resumption of the investigation after a suspension of more than a year.

The judicial standoff continues in Lebanon, where the Attorney General announced on Wednesday January 25 that he had decided to prosecute the magistrate in charge of the investigation into the deadly explosion at the port of Beirut in 2020.

Judge Tarek Bitar, who decided on Monday to resume his investigation suspended for 13 months due to political pressure, is being prosecuted for “rebellion against justice” and “usurpation of power”, prosecutor Ghassan Oueidate told AFP. .

>> To read: Explosions at the port of Beirut: who wants the skin of judge Tarek Bitar?

He is also banned from leaving Lebanese territory, added the public prosecutor at the Court of Cassation. Tarek Bitar is called to appear Thursday morning, according to a judicial official who requested anonymity.

In response, Judge Tarek Bitar, who decided on Tuesday to indict several high-ranking figures, including Attorney General Ghassan Oueidate and two senior security officials, assured AFP on Wednesday that he refused to divest himself of the investigation.

“I am still in charge of the investigation and I will not divest myself of this case. The prosecutor does not have the prerogative to prosecute me,” he said.

Release of all those arrested

In addition to summoning Judge Bitar, Ghassan Oueidate also ordered the release of the 17 people detained without trial since the gigantic explosion on August 4, 2020, which left more than 215 dead and devastated entire sections of the capital.

Among these 17 people are an American national as well as the directors of customs and the port. These three people were not among the five detainees whom Tarek Bitar had ordered released on Monday, when he decided to resume the investigation on his own.

The explosion was caused by the careless storage of hundreds of tons of ammonium nitrate in a warehouse at the port.

It was blamed by much of the population on the corruption and negligence of the ruling class, also accused by the families of victims and NGOs of torpedoing the investigation to avoid indictments.

With AFP

France 24-Trans

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