Judge Tarek Bitar, the investigative judge looking into the Beirut Port explosion of August 4th, 2020, has been facing increasing political pressure and smear campaigns the past few weeks.
Judge Bitar has been struggling with political interference in his work – particularly getting immunities of past ministers waived and receiving threats.
Head of Hezbollah‘s Internal Security, Wafiq Safa, sent a threat to Judge Bitar through a journalist, which Al-Jadeed confirmed: “We have had enough of you; we will go to the end of the legal path, and if that does not work, we will remove you by force.”
In a letter to Lebanon’s public prosecutor on September 2nd, Judge Bitar confirmed receiving this threat.
Former Prime Minister Diab didn’t show up to his interrogation last week as he went to visit his son in the United States days before he was due to be questioned by Judge Bitar. His questioning was later postponed to October 4th.
Despite this, Judge Bitar is ramping up his work and will be questioning more high-ranking individuals this week.
Judge Bitar got this role back in February 2020 following the removal of Judge Fadi Sawan, which was requested by 2 former ministers he had charged with negligence. Lebanon’s highest court upheld the request.
There will be a protest this Wednesday at 1 pm in front of the Justice Palace in Beirut in support of Judge Bitar’s work.