Lebanese Parliament Delays Decision To Lift Immunity For Beirut Blast Investigation


The Parliament and the Administration and Justice Committee met in Ain el-Tineh on Friday to discuss lifting the immunities of former ministers Ali Hassan Khalil, Ghazi Zeaiter, and Nouhad Machnouk.

Judge Tarek Bitar has asked for the lifting of immunities, which officials are entitled to by law, in order to be legally able to question several political and security officials over the August 4 Beirut Port explosion.

During the joint meeting, a decision was taken to review the issue within the next 15 days, rather than take any decision immediately.

The head of the Administration and Justice Committee, Lebanese Forces MP George Adwan, said, “We were the only ones who objected to the postponement of the issue of lifting immunity, we wanted to make a decision today.”

Giving a statement to the press about the decision, Deputy Parliament Speaker Elie Ferzli said that evidence against the accused needs to be provided to validate suspicions in order for the immunities to be lifted.

This puts the investigation in a vicious circle since the reason Judge Bitar asked for immunities to be lifted was to gather more evidence in the investigation.

It is worth noting that Khalil, Zeaiter, and Machnouk have expressed readiness to appear before the judge.

It is almost one year since the Beirut Explosion and the investigation into it continues to be hindered by non-compliant politicians, as happened with former investigator Judge Fadi Sawan who was reportedly threatened to step down as soon as he went after political officials.

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