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FILE PHOTO: The High Judicial Council named judge Tarek Bitar (47) as the new Lebanese prosecutor to lead probe into Beirut blast , a day after his predecessor Judge Fadi Sawwan was removed. Bitar who is from Akkar region of north Lebanon served as the head of the Criminal Court in Beirut since 2017.

All the eyes of the relatives of the victims of the Beirut Port blast are focused on the next step that lead investigative Judge Tarek Bitar takes. They have been fully supportive of his actions so far and remain hopeful that he will be serving justice

Beirut- Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah launched on Sunday a fresh attack on the lead investigative judge into the Beirut port blast case, this time over the subpoena of caretaker PM Hassan Diab.

“If Judge Bitar wants to question the prime minister, then let’s amend the constitution, and what he did is a rejected violation of the constitution,” Nasrallah said in his televised address.

“We call on the judicial authorities to intervene,” he added.

Nasrallah also again accused Bitar of “practicing politicization” and managing justice in a “selective” way.

Similarly the club of former premiers, which includes former PMs Saad Hariri, Najib Mikati, Fouad Siniora and Tammam Salam blasted judge Bitar over the subpoena of Diab. .

Bitar issued the subpoena after Diab refrained from attending an interrogation session on Thursday. The judge scheduled a new session for September 20. According to a judicial source, security forces have been ordered to bring Diab to the main courthouse in Beirut 24 hours before the session.

Like Diab , president Michel Aoun was informed about the presence of the Ammonium nitrate at the Beirut Port and like Diab he did nothing about it .

A protester calls for official accountability in the massive blast in Beirut’s port last year that killed some 218 people , injured 7000 and left 300, 000 homeless after 2,750 Tonnes of Ammonium Nitrate Exploded . They were stored there for nearly 7 years. , reportedly for use by the Syrian regime in its barrel bombs against the civilians in Syria. Caretaker PM Hassan Diab and president Michel Aoun were informed about the explosive chemical 2 weeks before the explosion. but neither did anything about it . Aoun said he is not responsible for the port and PM Diab reportedly offered to go to the port to inspect the material but Hezbollah security chief Wafic Safa reportedly told him not to go . Diab’s government , the presidency and the parliament leadership is controlled by Hezbollah since it is the only militia that was allowed by the Syrian occupiers at the end of the civil war to keep its arms (Hussein Malla / Associated Press)

Aoun had several advantages over Diab with regard to the blast

1- He has been a president much longer than Diab has been a PM

2- He is a retired army general and should have been fully aware that the Ammonium nitrate can be both a fertilizer and and an explosive

3- The port official , Badri Dhaher , who signed off on receiving the Ammonium nitrate shipment at the port is a close ally of Aoun and his son-in-law Gibran Bassil .

For all the above reason Judge Bitar should have asked to question Aoun before Diab , but so far he didn’t .

If Judge Bitar refuses to interrogate Aoun then Hezbollah and the Premier club have the right to accuse him of politicizing the investigation.

Everyone knows why Nasrallah launched the attack against Bitar.

1- Several ministers and officials who are closely associated with Hezbollah were named by Bitar in his investigation as being responsible for the blast .

2- As in the case of PM Rafik Hariri’s assassination Hezbollah chief attacked the investigators of the murder and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon that tried the assassins

3- It is clear from all the reports that surfaced since the port blast that the ammonium nitrate was stored for use by the Syrian regime in its barrel bombs to kill civilians . Hezbollah reportedly shipped the bulk of the ammonium nitrate to its Syrian ally and used some of it in making bombs in Germany, Cyprus and the UK in addition to Lebanon.

No one should be above the law in Lebanon and Judge Bitar has the right to question anyone in Lebanon that will help him resolve the issue of the explosion that killed 218, injured 7000, left 300, 000 homeless after a large part of Beirut was destroyed

The ball is now in Bitar’s court . His next step will determine if he is trying to serve justice or the corrupt Lebanese politicians .

Let us hope his next step will be to question Aoun over the blast

If justice is not served , Bitar will go down in history as another corrupt judge .

We have a lot of respect for Judge Bitar , lets hope he makes the right decisions

Ya Libnan Editorial

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