© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A view exhibits the grain silo that was broken throughout final 12 months’s Beirut port blast, throughout sundown in Beirut, Lebanon, July 29, 2021. Image taken July 29, 2021. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir
BEIRUT (Reuters) -A probe into the catastrophic explosion at Beirut port was frozen on Monday when a former minister needed for questioning as a suspect filed a case questioning the lead investigator’s neutrality, a judicial supply mentioned.
The Aug. 4, 2020 Beirut port blast killed greater than 200 individuals, injured hundreds and destroyed swathes of Beirut. It was brought on by a big amount of explosive chemical compounds saved at a warehouse unsafely for years.
The judicial probe into the explosion, one of many greatest non-nuclear blasts ever recorded, has made no progress, angering many Lebanese together with households of the victims who’re livid that no senior officers have been held to account.
Choose Tarek Bitar was appointed lead investigator after the elimination of his predecessor in February on related grounds.
Bitar was notified on Monday of the case towards him filed by former inside minister and present member of parliament Nohad Machnouk, the judicial supply advised Reuters.
“Now the classes shall be cancelled and Choose Bitar will cease trying on the file till the court docket of cassation decides both to just accept the case or reject it,” the supply mentioned.
There was no quick remark from Bitar, who isn’t permitted to talk to the media.
The probe has confronted political pushback from highly effective events which have alleged bias within the investigation.
The court docket of cassation issued a choice in February that eliminated the primary choose, Fadi Sawan, from the case after a request from two former ministers he had charged, Ali Hassan Khalil and Ghazi Zeaiter.
Choose Bitar had issued requests in July to query former prime minister Hassan Diab and different high officers charged by his predecessor with negligence over the blast.
All have denied wrongdoing.
On Sept. 16, he issued an arrest warrant for former public works minister Youssef Finianos after he failed to point out up for questioning, the primary towards a high official within the case.
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