Arab Press

بالشعب و للشعب
Saturday, Mar 02, 2024

Top prosecutor orders release of Beirut port blast detainees

Top prosecutor orders release of Beirut port blast detainees

Ghassan Oueidat, Lebanon’s top prosecutor, on Wednesday ordered the release of 17 detained suspects in the Beirut port blast investigation, and filed charges against the judge leading the probe.
Investigative judge Tarek Bitar had defied Lebanon’s entrenched ruling elite this week by daring to charge several powerful figures — including Oueidat — over the blast in 2020, while reviving a probe that was suspended for more than a year amid vehement political and legal pushback.

Oueidat has sued Bitar and issued him with a travel ban.

This judicial coup took place less than 48 hours after Bitar resumed the investigation into the explosion, following a 13-month halt over legal challenges raised by politicians accused in the probe.

In his move to resume investigations, Bitar relied on a legal study he personally prepared that authorizes him to continue working in the capacity because he was appointed as an investigator by a decision of the Council of Ministers.

Hezbollah and the Amal Movement called for and worked on the suspension of Bitar from the case. Hezbollah’s chief Hassan Nasrallah demanded his dismissal more than 14 months ago.

Decisions to release the detainees with immediate effect were sent to the security authorities by Oueidat.

The detainees left their detention with smiles on their faces, including Badri Daher, director general of customs, who is affiliated with the Free Patriotic Movement.

Bitar responded via the NTV channel, saying that “any compliance by the security forces with the decision of the public prosecutor Ghassan Oueidat to release the detainees would be tantamount to a coup against the law.”

Bitar added that “only the judicial investigator has the right to issue release decisions, and therefore Oueidat’s decision has no legal value.”

Judicial police informed Bitar at his home to appear before Oueidat on Thursday, in accordance with the lawsuit against him.

However, Bitar told an officer: “I am the one who wants to meet Oueidat because I sued him before he sued me, and I set him a date for a hearing next week.”

Bitar charged Oueidat on Monday, along with three other judges and four administrative officials, with “intentional murder” over the crime.

He said that his 750-page indictment included “dangerous security information.”

A judicial source told Arab News that “the Supreme Judicial Council would appoint another judicial investigator in the case. This step does not require a Cabinet decision or a decree.”

The judicial dispute has sparked anger among families of the victims of the blast. Tight security measures were taken around and inside the Palace of Justice in Beirut to prevent anyone from entering.

Most families of the victims have endorsed Bitar and called on the authorities to allow a thorough and unobstructed investigation.

Some, however, have lost hope in a domestic probe and have advocated a UN-mandated fact-finding mission.

Related Articles

Arab Press
China Criticizes US for Vetoing UN Ceasefire Resolution in Gaza
Saudi Arabia ranks first in UN index for e-government services in MENA
Israel Records 20% Drop In GDP, War In Gaza Is The Reason
Saudi Arabia's FDI Inflows Grow with New International Standards
Venture Capitals Power Up Across MENA Region
PM Modi Announces Opening Of New CBSE Office In Dubai
January Funding for MENA Startups Totals $86.5 Million
Saudi Arabia accelerates digital economy growth through Nvidia partnership
Israel unveils tunnels underneath Gaza City headquarters of UN agency for Palestinian refugees
Israel deploys new military AI in Gaza war
Egypt threatens to suspend key peace treaty if Israel pushes into Gaza border town, officials say
Saudi Arabia Warns Of A "Humanitarian Catastrophe" If Israel Moves On Rafah
US University To Shut Qatar Campus Due To "Heightened Mideast Instability"
Facebook and Instagram Ban Iran's Supreme Leader
Defense Technology Showcase Held in Riyadh
Saudi Arabia’s non-oil exports rise 2.5% to $6bn in November 2023: GASTAT
Rolls-Royce Executive Encourages Saudi Women to Tap into Their Inner 'Superhero' for Success in Defense Industry
Saudi Arabia launches National Academy of Vehicles and Cars
Saudi Tourism Minister Reveals Plan for 250,000 New Hotel Rooms by 2030
SAR to more than double eastern network passenger capacity with new trains deal
Saudi Arabia Enhances National Defense with New Partnerships
Saudi Aramco Maintains Arab Light Crude Pricing to Asia for March
NEOM Establishes New York Office to Support Investors
Saudi Wealth Fund Draws in Over $25 Billion Worth of Investments in Three Years, Al-Rumayyan Reveals
The Saudi Kingdom's Ultimatum to Israel: A Win-Win Peace with Saudi Arabia and the Arab World, or a Lose-Lose Continued Occupation and Endless Conflict
Biden condemns anti-Arab hate after WSJ opinion piece calls Dearborn ‘jihad capital’
Turkey Releases Seven Hostages Captured by Pro-Gaza Gunman
Arab Parliament Commends Women's Contributions to Societal Development
British and Hungarian Foreign Ministers visited Lebanese leaders to stress the importance of enacting UN Resolution 1701
Yemen's Houthis Say They Targeted British Merchant Vessel In Red Sea
Donald Trump Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize for 'Historic' Middle East Policy
US lawmakers approve F-16 jet sale to Turkey following NATO expansion support
Saudi Arabia Climbs 25 Places in World Bank's National Statistics Indicator
Tourism Growth in Saudi Arabia Fuels Advancements in the Hospitality Industry," Says Rotana Official
Houthi Rebels Request Departure of UN Staff from Yemen, Including US and UK Personnel, within a Month
Modi Inaugurates Hindu Temple on Site of Demolished Mosque in India
Over 25,000 Deaths in Gaza Amid Israeli Offensive
Escalating Clashes in Gaza as Israel Distributes Leaflets to Assist in Locating Hostages
Turkey's First Astronaut Set to Launch for International Space Station Today
Head of Palestinian Investment Fund Warns More People May Die of Hunger Than War in Gaza
Palestinian Envoy Criticizes UK for Alleged 'Double Standards' in Policies Toward Israel
Morocco to Lead UN Human Rights Council in 2024
Is artificial intelligence the solution to cyber security threats?
Egypt has been identified as the leading military force among Arab nations and ranks 15th globally
The AI Revolution in the Workforce: CEOs at Davos Predict Major Job Cuts in 2024
Iranian Nobel Laureate Narges Mohammadi Receives Additional Prison Sentence
"Gazans Urge Israeli Forces to Target Hamas in Leaked Audio"
Biden States US and UK Airstrikes on Houthis Were a 'Defensive Action
Large Pro-Palestine Rally in London as Gaza Conflict Hits Day 100
South Africa Urges World Court to Halt Israeli Actions in Gaza