Judge Tarek Bitar, the lead investigator into the Beirut Port blast of August of 2020, has made a bold statement to the Associated Press.
He stated that he will not be deterred in his efforts to uncover the truth and bring those responsible to justice, “even if it is going to cost me my life.”
He has expressed his hope that there will be an indictment in the case ahead of the upcoming third anniversary of the blast.
Judge Bitar has also shown a willingness to challenge the entrenched ruling elite in Lebanon, as he has decided to resume his investigation after a series of lawsuits, mostly brought forth by officials charged in the case.
This forced him to halt his work for a period of 13 months.
On Wednesday, Judge Bitar refused to step down from the investigation, rejecting the charges brought against him by Lebanon’s top prosecutor, Judge Ghassan Oueidat, in the politically charged case.
“I have nothing against Judge Oueidat but there are some suspicions that came up. He should come and defend himself,” Judge Bitar said. “I will continue with the case and I will not leave it unless they remove me completely.”
“Everyone that I summon has to come because the blood of the victims is above everything,” he added.
Hezbollah and its allies continue smear campaigns against Judge Bitar.
The Beirut port blast, which resulted in over 244 people dead and thousands more injured, caused widespread destruction and devastation in the city.
The investigation into the cause of the explosion and those responsible has been ongoing, but progress has been slow and hindered by political interference.
Judge Bitar‘s determination to see the case through, despite the obstacles and challenges he faces, is a positive step towards achieving justice for the victims and their families.