PM Diab Won’t Comply With Judge Charging Him Over Beirut Blast

Mohamed Azakir/Reuters

Only a couple of hours ago, judge Fadi Sawan, the lead investigative judge on the Beirut Blast probe, has charged caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab, and former ministers Ghazi Zaiter, Ali Hassan Khalil, and Youssef Fenianos, with the crime of causing the blast.

In response, Hassan Diab’s office indicated that he won’t cooperate as Judge Sawan’s move to charge him over the port explosion goes against parliament laws and violates the constitution.

However, the Lebanese Judges Association argued that ministers are not subject to immunity in this case, as the crime committed is not related to any of the duties in office.

According to the National News Agency, the Grand Serail Press Office issued a statement on behalf of Hassan Diab, saying, “The Prime Minister’s conscience is clear. He is confident that his hands are clean and that he has handled the Beirut Port blast file in a responsible and transparent manner.”

“This surprising targeting goes beyond the person to the position per se, and Hassan Diab will not allow the Premiership to be targeted by any party,” the Press Office added.

The charges against Hassan Diab indicate that he, along with President Michel Aoun, had been informed about the dangerous material stored at the port shortly before it exploded.

The four former ministers will be interrogated as defendants starting Monday.

Prime Minister Hassan Diab announcing Lebanon's decision to default on Eurobonds payment
VDalati & Nohra

It is to note that Hassan Diab took office as premier on January 21st of this year and resigned on August 10th, less than 7 months later, in wake of the Beirut explosion. The Ammonium Nitrate, which caused that explosion, was stored in 2014.

That’s some 6 years before his government, during which his predecessors, including Saad Hariri, reportedly knew as well and did nothing to have the dangerous substance removed. So did the president.

One could only wonder, why Diab?

How about all those officials who knew without budging?

And how about the real culprits who stored the Ammonium Nitrate, the judge who signed on it, those who kept it in the port for a purpose, and those who didn’t allow for its removal until it removed itself and half the capital along with it?

The Lebanese want true justice. A scapegoat or two won’t cut it. They won’t rest until honest justice is served.

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