Ex-Minister Youssef Fanianos Is Refusing To Be Questioned Over Beirut Port Blast

Judicial investigator Judge Tarek Bitar has issued an arrest warrant for former Lebanese Public Works Minister Youssef Fenianos over the Beirut Port Explosion.
Youssef Fenianos | The New York Times

Charged earlier with negligence over the Beirut Port blast by Lebanon’s prosecutor Judge Fadi Sawan, and summoned again on Tuesday to be questioned on Thursday, former Minister Youssef Fenianos is just refusing to show up.

The former Minister of Public Works & Transportation announced his lack of cooperation in a tweet, claiming that he was not notified according to the principle of criminal procedures, hence he ‘excuses himself from attending.’

Whether based on technicalities or otherwise, the fact is there that officials have been resisting to be questioned, impending as such the investigation and the course of justice, knowingly.

Judge Sawan had charged Fenianos alongside caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab, former Finance Minister Ali Hasan Khalil, as well as former public works minister Ghazi Zeaiter. All refused to be questioned.

The political uproar that had ensued back then denoted the tragic reality that is the political scene in Lebanon. While the politicians fervently disagreed with each other, they would stand by each other in this to protect the now-lost “prestige” of their positions.

According to local media sources, the Beirut Blast investigation confirmed that the Lebanese authorities were informed several times, in writing, of the urgency to dispose of the ammonium nitrate that ended exploding in the port.

As known to all, nothing was done, no measures were taken whatsoever, to spare Beirut, the people, and the port, the devastating explosion and its colossal damage.

One month after the devastating port explosion became every Lebanese resident’s worst nightmare, Fenianos was sanctioned by the U.S. for allegedly engaging in corruption and providing material support to Hezbollah.

According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, these sanctions “underscore how some Lebanese politicians have conspired with Hezbollah at the expense of the Lebanese people and institutions.”

Fenianos is one of the only two officials outside of the Hezbollah party subjected to such measures. Former Finance Minister Ali Hasan Khalil was also sanctioned by the U.S. in September.

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