Families Of Beirut Blast Victims Are Protesting The Appointment Of New Judge

Relatives and families of the Beirut Port explosion in 2020 have been protesting outside the justice palace in Adlieh for two days in a row.

The protests are against the Higher Judicial Council’s approval of Minister Henry Khoury’s proposal to appoint an alternate judge to lead the official investigation. The protesters condemn the decision as an attempt by the political class to avoid justice. 

The families of the victims protested in front of caretaker Minister of Justice Henri Khoury’s apartment in Hazmieh on Wednesday evening. One protester reportedly said: “You are assassinating the law, they are assassinating our case.”

The investigation into the blast has been stalled since December after three former cabinet ministers filed legal challenges against the investigating judge, Tarek Bitar. 

The blast, which killed over 240 people, has caused billions of dollars in damage, maimed thousands, and rendered 300 000 people homeless. 

Several cases have been filed against Judge Bitar, who was suspended from the investigation after he had said that a former prime minister, several former ministers, and current lawmakers were responsible for the blast as a consequence of their negligence. 

A judicial source expressed to local news: “Judge Bitar will exert all his efforts to resume the investigation, just as they (the opponents, ed.) have exerted all their efforts to dismiss him from the case. Whenever Bitar reaches a dead end, then resignation might be an option.”

Related: MP Paula Yacoubian Proposed Four Laws To Re-launch The Beirut Blast Investigation

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