Zoaiter, Khalil file new recusal lawsuit against Bitar


MPs Ghazi Zoaiter and Ali Hassan Khalil on Monday filed a new recusal lawsuit against Beirut port blast investigator Judge Tarek Bitar.

The lawsuit was filed before the Criminal Court of Cassation, with the two lawmakers citing “legitimate suspicion.”

LBCI television reported that Khalil has also filed a lawsuit against Bitar before the Judicial Inspection Commission, accusing him of “willful misconduct” in the port blast case.

Al-Jadeed television meanwhile reported that caretaker Justice Minister Khoury will return to Beirut Monday evening in order to "resume his work tomorrow morning, address the rift between judges and find an exit for the Beirut port file."

Bitar took Lebanon by surprise last Monday when he resumed his investigation after a 13-month hiatus, charging eight new suspects including high-level security officials and Lebanon's top prosecutor Ghassan Oueidat. The judge also scheduled interrogation sessions for Zoaiter and other figures who had been previously charged.

Bitar said he based his decision on a legal review that he himself conducted, with a source close to him saying the judge "is convinced it's crucial to hold officials accountable and finish his mission."

But others in Lebanon point to foreign interference in the case. A top security official said that the Lebanese judiciary had come under U.S. pressure to free detainees in the case, including dual Lebanese-U.S. citizen Ziad al-Ouf.

The week before reopening the case, Bitar had met with two French judges for hours about his investigation. The delegation suggested Bitar should resume work, arguing that holding suspects in detention without trial is a human rights violation.

Bitar's surprise move sparked a judicial battle with Oueidat, putting Lebanon's notoriously politicized justice system to yet another test.

Oueidat retaliated by charging the judge with "usurping power" and insubordination, and slapped Bitar with a travel ban. A defiant Bitar meanwhile told AFP he would not step down, adding that Oueidat "has no authority" to intervene in the case.

Comments 2
Thumb ansarullah 30 January 2023, 16:49

God bless our Shia resistance and its sibling the Amal movement for giving us 'hope' that justice will be served in the investigation of the Beirut port blast. There is more than just “legitimate suspicion” in the investigation carried out by this veterinarian judge aka Bitar.

These two ex-ministers have dedicated their political life to serving the people of Lebanon and the Shia community and the "Ahali". Despite unfounded rumors of their ridiculous wealth and extravagant expenditures on their children's wedding, these two honorable Shia ministers never lost sight of the ultimate objective and that being serving our resistance and making Lebanon an enviable country.

The Saudi and American backers of this judge will soon find out that we the Shia, the followers of Hussain, will never surrender, will never submit, and we will liberate.

Shia Shea Shia !!!

Thumb i.report 30 January 2023, 17:59

Ha! It looks like the motto for these ex-ministers is "to have and to hold...onto their wealth." They're dedicating their political careers to their own pockets, not the people of Lebanon. And who needs a real judge when you've got a pretend one, aka Bitar?

But don't worry, the truth always finds a way to shine through. The Saudi and American puppets behind this sham of a judge will soon see that the followers of Hussain will never surrender their greed, admit their guilt, or face justice. Looks like they'll be holding onto their wealth for a while longer.

Shia Shea Shia! The motto for those who never let the truth get in the way of their true objective!