Taking a similar approach to former Beirut Blast investigator Judge Fadi Sawwan, who was removed after charging politicians, investigative Judge Tarek Bitar is now going after political and security figures, NNA confirmed.
As an outline of the latest developments in the Beirut blast probe, Judge Bitar:
- will be interrogating caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab
- requested lifting the immunity of former Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil, former Public Works Minister Ghazi Zeaiter, and former Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk
- requested the Bar Association in Beirut and Tripoli to allow the prosecution of Khalil, Zeaiter, and former Public Works Minister Youssef Fenianos
- asked for permission from caretaker Interior Minister Mohammed Fahmi to prosecute the director-general of the General Directorate of General Security Abbas Ibrahim
- asked for permission from Hassan Diab to prosecute State Security Cheif, Tony Saliba
According to NNA, Judge Bitar seeks to begin interrogations not only for the charge of negligence but also for the possible felony of murder.
The massive developments in the Beirut Blast investigation come one month ahead of the one-year anniversary of the August 4 Explosion.
Notably, Diab, Khalil, Zeaiter, and Fenianos were previously indicted by Judge Sawwan but responded with noncompliance, using the shield of immunity that officials in Lebanon favor from.
Ghazi Zeaiter and Ali Hassan Khalil went then pressuring for the removal of judge Sawwan from the case, which they achieved.
The investigation has made little progress in the past year. However, the inclination to summon previously indicted officials showcases their possible links to the blast no matter their categorical denial.
It is worth noting that Diab, who was a university professor upon his designation of Prime Minister, was practically new in the political stage and in his position when the explosion occurred.
It is unknown if the explosion that took place earlier this week at the office of a lawyer working on the Beirut Blast files is related to these new and more assertive steps taken by Judge Bitar.