Hezbollah & Amal Are Trying To Paint Judge Tarek Bitar As “Mentally Ill”

Hezbollah and Amal continue to double down on their attacks against Judge Tarek Bitar over his investigation into the Beirut Port blast.

On Tuesday, Member of Parliament Ghazi Zaiter reportedly walked out of a session of the Administration and Justice Parliamentary Committee after being summoned and charged as a suspect.

According to al-Jadeed TV, Zaiter was quoted as saying, “They want to argue and they are ignorant of the law,” during the session. The network also reported that a heated debate ensued after Amal MPs attacked Judge Tarek Bitar.

Zaiter allegedly described Bitar as “mentally ill.”

In an interview with al-Jadeed, Zaiter refused to comment on the incident and stated that he would “respond” to Bitar’s summoning of him “through the judiciary.”

At the same time, the pro-Hezbollah paper al-Akhbar ran the following headline: “Port investigation: Tarek Bitar has gone mad,” where they accused him of acting “on the basis of American orders and with European judicial support”.

Bitar had decided to resume his probe despite strong political pressure that had led to a suspension of his work for more than a year. On Tuesday, he charged 8 more officials and judges.

Relatives of the victims have been holding vigils and protests since the disaster, seeking justice and accountability. They had recently escalated their protests which resulted in their summoning and questioning.

Many families have placed their hopes in Judge Bitar, but he has faced legal challenges, delays, and strong resistance from Hezbollah and its allies, who accuse him of political bias.

Hezbollah and its ally Amal called for demonstrations to demand his dismissal in October 2021, after which a gunbattle broke out in the Tayyouneh-Ain el-Remmaneh area and 7 people were killed.

Bitar has justified his resumption of the probe with a legal study that he conducted.

In a leaked copy of the study, Bitar mentions that the Judicial Council is a special court that is totally independent and not outranked by any other court or judicial body.

He explained that the new Code of Criminal Procedure issued in 2001 allowed for the recusal and removal of Judicial Council members but not the judicial investigator.

Despite the ongoing legal challenges and resistance from certain political factions, Bitar‘s investigation into the Beirut port blast continues.

The Lebanese people, particularly the families of the victims, have been calling for justice and accountability for the disaster, which resulted in one of the deadliest non-nuclear explosions in history.

The international community has also called for a transparent and thorough investigation into the incident.

In remarks published to Annahar, Judge Tarek Bitar said he did what his “conscience dictated” on him after “having reached a dead end.”

“Let it be opposed by whoever wants to oppose it. My legal conviction obliged me to do what I did,” Bitar went on to say.

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