Families of the victims of the sunken emigrant boat of death said that they have filed a lawsuit accusing the military of detaining two missing survivors.
The boat that sank last April carrying dozens of Lebanese, Syrians, and Palestinians was trying to migrate by sea to Italy.
It went down more than five kilometers from the port of Tripoli, following a confrontation with the country’s navy. Later on, it was found 130 Meters away from the site.
Survivors say the Lebanese navy rammed their vessel, while the military claims the illegal emigrants’ boat collided with one of their ships while trying to get away.
The captain of a submarine mission last week said they found the remains of at least 10 migrants and the wreckage of the sunken boat with dents and damages.
Now, the survivors say the army has been holding two survivors who have been missing since the night of the tragedy and has refused to reveal footage of the wreckage from the submarine mission.
They also say the military barred them from attending a press conference with the submarine’s captain and navy officials.
The Lebanese Army stated that the investigation is ongoing and the footage from the submarine investigation has been transferred to the military probe.
Addressing the army in a news conference, Amid Dandachi, a survivor of the doomed boat whose wife and three children drowned, said: “We’ve been waiting for you and the state for four months throughout this whole turmoil. I challenge you to show us the videos of the pursuit of the boat.”
Ten bodies were recovered the night the boat sank, including one of a child, while 48 survivors were pulled out from the sea.
According to navy estimates, 30 people were believed to have gone down with the boat.
The survivors’ lawyers blasted the authorities’ alleged sluggish investigation. Diala Chehade, one lawyer representing the survivors and victims’ families, urged authorities to retrieve the wreckage.
“A key reason of the submarine mission was to try to recover what remains from the bodies so their loved ones can mourn them in dignity and pray for their souls,” Chehade said at the press conference. “But there is also another key reason, which is to find and retrieve the drowned boat and forensically examine it.”
Chehade also called for transferring the probe from the military tribunal to a civil court, claiming it would be more transparent and impartial for such a case.
Lebanon, and especially its northern region, is witnessing multiple smuggling attempts of people by sea out of the country in the last months as life in the country has become unbearable to many.