Lebanon’s prosecutor defies judge’s order on Beirut port blast inquiry

Lebanon’s Prosecutor-General Ghassan Oueidat on Tuesday challenged an order by a judge to be questioned into the 2020 Beirut port explosion, according to a judicial source.

On Monday, Judge Tarek Bitar resumed his inquiry into the deadly blast, after a 13-month suspension due to political resistance to his attempts to interrogate top officials.

A judicial source earlier told Anadolu that Bitar plans to question a host of security officials and judges, including Oueidat, into the blast next month.

According to local media, three other judges -- Ghassan Khoury, Carla Shawwah and Jad Maalouf -- will also be summoned for questioning.

The list also includes Higher Customs Council chief Asaad Toufaili, council member Gracia al-Qazzi, General Security chief Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim and State Security chief Maj. Gen. Tony Saliba.

A Lebanese judicial source said Oueidat sent a letter to Judge Bitar on Tuesday in which he told him that "your hands are tied up by the law."

On Aug. 4, 2020, Beirut was rocked by a massive explosion that changed the course of events and upended the lives of many people in Lebanon.

More than 200 Lebanese lost their lives and 6,500 others were injured, while some 50,000 housing units suffered damage, with material losses estimated at about $15 billion.

Authorities believe the explosion was caused by about 2,750 tons of highly explosive ammonium nitrate, which had been confiscated from a ship and had been stored at the port for six years.

Source: Anadolu Agency