Nouhad Al-Machnouk Is Suing The Government To Prevent Judge Bitar From Interrogating Him


Former Minister of Interior and Municipalities, Nouhad al-Machnouk, member of the Future Movement, filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against the Lebanese government, in an attempt to avoid being interrogated by Judge Tarek Bitar over the Beirut Port Blast.

Judge Bitar is in charge of the investigation of the explosion of the port on August 4th, 2020 that took the lives of more than 234 people and left more than 6500 injured.

Al-Machnouk claims in the lawsuit that the judge is violating the constitution by investigating him.

This lawsuit against the government is a tactic by the former minister to pause the ongoing prosecution against him until a further decision is taken.

The former minister, suspected of negligence, had a scheduled hearing with Judge Bitar on Friday 29th, which will have to be rescheduled.

It is not the first time the political establishment is using those legal ways to avoid justice, former Prime Minister Hassan Diab filed the same lawsuit against the state on Wednesday.

Alongside those lawsuits, many requests to dismiss the lead investigator, Judge Bitar, have been submitted since he started working on the case in February.

It has been the case by former ministers Ali Hassan Khalil and Ghazi Zeaiter, who had filed removal requests against the judge earlier in October after the latter issued an arrest warrant for Khalil.

Judge Bitar’s predecessor in charge of the Beirut Blast investigation, Judge Fadi Sawan, was dismissed after similar legal tactics were used.

The Court of Cassation has rejected those requests to remove Judge Bitar, which were part of ongoing intense pressures on him. The Lebanese Judge Association has also issued the decision, about 2 weeks ago, that they will no longer accept any request to remove Judge Bitar.

“Whoever has ears should listen well to the voice of the law, and stop messing with the last bastion of the idea of the state,” their statement read.

However, these officials continue trying all possible legal procedures to avoid being questioned, obstructing as such the investigation of this most important case. Facing the Judge Association’s decision, they are now suing the government.

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