US Senators express concern over suspension of Beirut Port blast probe
October 2, 2021
FILE – In this Aug. 4, 2021 file photo, a monument that represents justice stands in front of towering grain silos that were gutted in the massive August 2020 explosion at the port that killed at least 218 people , wounded over 7,000, destroyed a large section of the capital and left 300, 000 homeless in Beirut, Lebanon. Hezbollah and and its allies are trying to get rid of Judge Tarek Bitar who is probing the blast and were able to suspend his investigation several times . a move that outraged the relatives of the victims of the blast . Hezbollah is reportedly concerned over being exposed for its role in acquiring, storing and using of the ammonium nitrate that exploded at the port (AP Photo/Hussein Malla, File)
WASHINGTON , DC – U.S. Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today released the following statement in reaction to the suspension of Judge Tarek Bitar’s investigation into the 2020 Beirut port blast in the wake of calls for his dismissal:
“We are extremely concerned by the suspension of Judge Tarek Bitar’s investigation into the devastating August 4, 2020, explosion at the Port of Beirut which killed more than 200 people and injured thousands more. The Lebanese people, many of whom continue to suffer physical and economic impacts of the blast, deserve accountability for this tragedy.
“Furthermore, we are alarmed by Hezbollah’s reported role in driving the decision to suspend this critical investigation. Judge Bitar is a respected, and by all accounts impartial, jurist with over a decade of service to his country as a judge. It is incumbent upon the Lebanese government to ensure that judges and other investigators can safely carry out their duties and complete this investigation.”