Relatives of Port Explosion Rally Again Demanding Justice

Relatives of the Beirut port blast victims held a protest for the second day on Friday and blocked traffic in Riad el-Solh highway after a decision that recused judge Fadi Sawwan off the case.

On Thursday, a dozen family members held a protest and blocked traffic, burning tires outside the Palace of Justice.

Lebanon's highest court on Thursday decided to remove the chief prosecutor investigating last year's massive Beirut port explosion, following legal challenges by senior officials he had accused of negligence that led to the blast.

The Court of Cassation called for a new investigating judge to be appointed to lead the probe, nearly six months after it had started.

The development is likely to further delay the investigation into the horrific explosion that killed more than 200 people, wounded over 6,000 and disfigured much of Beirut. Families of the victims and survivors have accused the ruling political class of corruption and negligence that led to the explosion of ammonium nitrate, a dangerous chemical stored in the port for years.

Judge Sawwan had accused and summoned for questioning Lebanon's caretaker prime minister and three former ministers on suspicion of negligence that led to the deadly explosion.

People protested Sawwan’s recusal amid skepticism of a transparent and independent investigation into the Aug. 4 explosion, in a country where a culture of impunity has prevailed for decades.

Source: Naharnet

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