| 25 February 2024, Sunday |

Gemayel questions Judge Bitar’s appointment over port probe

Kataeb party leader, Sami Gemayel, questioned on Saturday the appointment of Judge Tarek Bitar as the new judicial prosecutor in the Beirut port explosion probe.

“Judge Bitar refused his appointment [as a judicial prosecutor in the probe] six months ago, expressing reservations over his decision,” Gemayel wrote on Twitter.

“So why did they elect [now] a judge who had previously rejected the task?” he asked, adding “what were his reservations back then? Why did he accept the task today? How and why were his reservations dissipated?”

“Whoever dismisses an investigator in compliance with a political decision of the accused undermines justice and the judicial system,” Gemayel added. “Accountability will come inevitably.”

Kataeb party leader, Sami Gemayel, slammed on Friday the politicization of the Beirut port investigation, noting that it aims to cripple the judicial authority.

“The politicization of the investigation is obvious to the Lebanese people. It is like the twisted ways that we have become accustomed to and that lead to an alteration in the course of judicial proceedings, as it was the case under the Syrian tutelage,” he said in an interview with Voice of Lebanon radio.

“It is reoccurring today in order to paralyze the judiciary and its primary role in rebuilding Lebanon, Gemayel added.

The party leader criticized the course that this case has taken, starting from evading interrogation sessions up to dismissing Judge Fadi Sawan, saying “it confirms our belief that there are suspicions surrounding the investigation which is already marred by numerous flaws.”

On August 4th, 2020, a large explosion, caused by improperly stored ammonium nitrate, occurred at the Port of Beirut, killing at least 200 people, injuring more than 6,000 and rendering 300,000 others homeless.

Large sections of the port and its infrastructure were destroyed, including most of Beirut’s grain reserves, and billions of dollars in damages were inflicted across the city.