Wednesday, January 25, 2023
Beirut – (dpa)
The families of the victims of the Beirut port explosion staged a sit-in this evening, Wednesday, in front of the house of the Public Prosecutor at the Court of Cassation, Judge Ghassan Oweidat, in protest against his decision to release all those arrested in the port bombing file.
The families of the victims of the Beirut port explosion gathered in front of Oweidat’s house in the Baabda area of Mount Lebanon, holding pictures of their children, in the presence of the security forces.
Oweidat had issued a decision today, stipulating the release of all those arrested in the case without exception and preventing them from traveling, placing them at the disposal of the Judicial Council in the event of its convening and informing whomever is necessary.
Commenting on Judge Oweidat’s decision, the judicial investigator in the Beirut Port explosion case, Judge Tariq Al-Bitar, announced in a statement to the local “Al-Jadeed” channel that “only the judicial investigator has the right to issue release decisions, and therefore the decision of the discriminatory public prosecutor, Ghassan Oweidat, has no legal value.”
Al-Bitar added, “Any response by the security forces to the Public Prosecutor’s decision to release the detainees would be tantamount to a coup against the law.”
The judicial investigator in the Beirut port explosion case confirmed to the “National News Agency” that he “continues his duties to investigate the port explosion file until the indictment is issued.”
He pointed out that “the Public Prosecutor at the Court of Cassation, Judge Ghassan Oweidat, has resigned from the file, and he is also a defendant, and he cannot take any decision in this file.”
He pointed out, “Judge Oweidat cannot claim against a judge who previously charged him with the port crime due to a conflict of interest,” noting that “the decisions taken by Oweidat regarding the release of the detainees are illegal and must not be implemented.”
The judicial investigator in the Beirut Port explosion crime, Judge Tariq Al-Bitar, had resumed his investigations into the explosion case two days ago after they were suspended for more than a year, released five detainees, charged eight new people and sent memorandums to inform them of the dates of the sessions, justifying his return based on legal materials that do not allow his response. .
And he agreed to release five detainees in the file, namely: the former Director General of Customs, Shafiq Marei, the former director of operations at the port, Sami Hussein, the contractor for the works at the port, Salim Shibli, the director of projects at the port, Michel Nahoul, and the Syrian worker Ahmed Al-Rajab, preventing them from traveling, and refusing to evacuate them. the way of 12 others.
The Public Prosecutor, Judge Ghassan Oweidat, responded yesterday, Tuesday, to the decisions taken by the judicial investigator in the port explosion crime, Judge Tariq Al-Bitar, by rejecting these decisions altogether, since Al-Bitar kept his hand from the file.
The Lebanese Public Prosecutor at the Court of Cassation, Judge Ghassan Oweidat, assigned the Director General of Public Security, Major General Abbas Ibrahim, to place a travel ban against Judge Tariq Al-Bitar.
This evening, Wednesday, the 17 people arrested in the port explosion file began to be released. Among them is the Director General of Customs, Badri Daher.
It is noteworthy that an explosion rocked the port of Beirut on August 4, 2020, and resulted in damage to a number of streets in the capital, killing more than 230 people, injuring more than 6,000 people, and leaving 300,000 people homeless.
A number of people were arrested following the explosion, and 17 people are still detained pending investigation.