标签档案: Beirut

Judge probing Beirut blast demands arrest of former minister

Judge probing Beirut blast demands arrest of former minister
The investigation has been stalled by lawsuits filed by suspects seeking removal of Judge Tarek Bitar

judge investigating the deadly 2020 Beirut port explosion has asked security forces to implement an arrest warrant he issued two months ago for a powerful former minister charged over the blast.

Judge Tarek Bitar asked security forces, via the public prosecutors office, to implement the warrant against former finance minister Ali Hasan Khalil, else security forces themselves be prosecuted for defying judicial orders, a senior judicial source told 路透社 在周五.

A number of current and former senior politicians and security officials have been charged in connection with the blast that killed more than 215 人们, but have refused to be interrogated by Bitar, saying he lacks the authority to do so and is biased.

His probe has repeatedly been stalled by lawsuits filed by suspects seeking his removal. It resumed this week after being suspended for more than a month.

Bitar issued the warrant for Khalil on 12 October after Khalil, a current member of parliament, skipped a planned interrogation.

The same day, ministers loyal to Iran-backed Hezbollah and Amal, of which Khalil is a senior member, asked for Bitar’s removal during a Cabinet session and the groups staged a protest on 14 October in Beirut against Bitar that descended into violence and armed clashes.

Cabinet has not met since.

Khalilthe right-hand man of Lebanon’s parliament speakerhas remained free and participated in public life, such as attending a parliamentary session on Tuesday.

Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi, who oversees the Internal Security Forces, said he had not yet officially received Bitar’s request. He did not elaborate further.

Mawlawi previously did not respond when asked why security forces under his command were not implementing the warrant.

The Internal Security Forces said on 8 November that they had asked the judiciary for clarification on whether Khalil could be arrested while parliament was in session due to a constitutional article that limits when MPs can be arrested while parliament is in session, as it currently is.

路透社