In the latest developments of the Beirut blast probe, lead investigator Judge Tarek Bitar has ordered the release of 6 detainees held in connection to the Beirut Explosion of August 4th.
Those released include 4 security agency officials and 2 employees under the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation.
According to NNA, these are the names of the released detainees:
- Major Joseph Naddaf, the head of the port’s State Security office who had warned of the danger of the stored ammonium nitrate
- Major Charbel Fawaz, General Security officer at the port
- Sergeant Major Elias Chahine
- Sergeant Major Khaled Al-Khari
- Johnny Gerges, employee
- Mikhael Al-Murr, employee
At the order of Judge Fadi Sawan, at least 25 people, including state security officials, customs and port officials, and civil employees, were detained in relation to the blast.
Judge Sawan has since been replaced by Judge Bitar at the demand of political officials who were indicted in December for their connection to the apocalyptic explosion.
It has been over 8 months since the blast and the release of these detainees who have maintained their innocence is a breakthrough for justice.
For instance, Major Naddaf was the first person to warn about the dangers that loomed at the Beirut Port. And when he did, he found out that some Lebanese officials already knew, according to a report by the New York Times, which called out Lebanon’s “corrupt and dysfunctional system” for ignoring the threat and “enriching the country’s political leaders through bribery and smuggling.”
Similarly, Major Fawaz and his family believed that he was wrongly detained. According to his family, he was summoned for questioning and appeared before the judge convinced he was innocent and was then arrested.
As for the remaining detainees, Judge Bitar has reportedly rejected the request for their release.