| 1 October 2022, Saturday |

Judge Bitar to re-interrogate detainees over Beirut blast – sources

Judge Tarek Bitar, a newly appointed judicial investigator into the Beirut port blast probe, continued on Thursday to examine thousands of documents about the investigation carried out by his predecessor Judge Fadi Sawan, sources told Sawt Beirut International.

After the said number of papers will be scrutinized, the judge is set to develop a strategy on his investigations, including the re-interrogation of certain detainees, the sources added.

Legal representatives of some detainees have already submitted requests for their release, but Judge Bitar will not adjudicate on such requests before having examined the entire file and re-interrogated all those whose attorneys are calling for their release.

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.

Families of people killed in the port explosion protested last week after a court removed the lead investigator into the blast in a severe setback to their campaign to hold those in power to account.

Judge Fadi Sawan charged 3 ex-ministers and the outgoing prime minister with negligence over the explosion in December, but the four did not appear for questioning and accused him of overstepping his powers.