Parliament Approves Illicit Enrichment Bill, Postpones General Amnesty
Lebanon’s parliament approved on Wednesday the illicit enrichment law and postponed discussions into a controversial general amnesty until the afternoon session.
Lawmakers convened at the UNESCO Palace, not the usual venue because of the outbreak of coronavirus.
Speaker Nabih Berri chaired the meeting which began with lawmakers observing a moment of silence for the passing of Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah, and former Lebanese MP Tark Habshi, media reports said.
MTV television said caretaker Justice Minister Marie-Claude Najm brought to Berri’s attention to also observe a moment of silence for the 190 victims of Beirut’s colossal port explosion. “Yes let’s do that,” replied Berri.
Shortly before the meeting, Berri decided to delay until the afternoon discussions on the general amnesty draft law because the Strong Lebanon bloc threatened to boycott the meeting.
He later said the bill will be discussed during an afternoon session.
Said law was listed as urgent in light of a spike in coronavirus cases in Lebanon’s overcrowded prisons, mainly in Roumieh.
The Lebanese Forces, Strong Lebanon bloc threatened to boycott the session if the bill did not meet the bloc’s criteria. But they stepped back after Berri’s decision.
Similarly, al-Mustaqbal parliamentary bloc said it does not agree to the current text of the general amnesty draft law.
"The proposed format does not fulfill our demand and that of the relatives on ending the injustice and unfairness against a large number of detainees,” head of the bloc Bahiaa Hariri’s press office said in a statement.
Member of the Finance and Budget parliament committee, MP Ibrahim Kanaan said: “Illicit enrichment law was approved without excluding ministers, deputies or any public employee.
“Unjust enrichment will therefore be classified as an ordinary crime, subject to ordinary judiciary. Meaning, violators will no more enjoy immunity from prosecution,” he added.