A police member stands outside the Justice Palace, in Beirut, Lebanon, on Tuesday. Reuters
The Lebanese judge leading the investigation into last year’s massive explosion at Beirut’s port issued an arrest warrant on Tuesday for a former Cabinet minister after he did not show up for questioning, the state-run National News Agency said.
The probe into the catastrophic port explosion was frozen on Tuesday for the second time in less than three weeks after two politicians wanted for questioning filed a new complaint against the lead investigator, a judicial source said.
Shortly afterward, the judge was notified that the former minister and another former government member had formally asked a court to replace the judge, who now has to suspend the investigation until a ruling on him comes out.
The developments were the latest twists in the saga of the troubled probe into the massive August 2020 blast at Beirut's port that killed 215 people, injured thousands and devastated entire neighborhoods of the Lebanese capital.
The saga of the troubled probe into the massive August 2020 blast at Beirut's port that killed 215 people.
Judge Tarek Bitar, who is leading the investigation, issued an arrest warrant for Ali Hassan Khalil, Lebanon's former finance minister and current member of parliament. It wasn't immediately clear if Khalil would be arrested.
The probe was suspended in late September on the basis of a complaint questioning Bitar's impartiality. A court rejected the complaint on procedural grounds, allowing him to continue.
Bitar has been leading the probe since Judge Fadi Sawan was removed from the case in February on the basis of a similar complaint filed by the politicians who are now challenging Bitar's neutrality.
The US Treasury accused Mudalal Khoury in 2015 of "an attempted procurement of ammonium nitrate in late 2013". It sanctioned his brother Imad a year later for engaging in business activities with Mudalal.
"I hope whoever hears my words will support, even if it is with the word. We need to feel that we can heal each other’s wounds, support each other. I wish all of you success until we meet at the celebration that will mark Lebanon’s freedom. That day will come. "
The UAE has dispatched more aid to Lebanon to help emergency relief efforts in Beirut. The move follows the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.
Governor Sindh Imran Ismail has said that the Pakistan Pavilion in the Expo 2020 Dubai is one of the best pavilions and appreciated the team who made it, which incorporates the country’s culture, heritage, places and people.
With economies either slowly or quickly picking up and the jobs landscape changing in connection with the Novel Coronavirus (COVID19) pandemic, Philippine government officials led by Labour and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III shall push for much better protection and welfare conditions of overseas Filipinos (OFs).
The two honoured people returned a wallet containing sums of money and official documents to the Transport Security Department in the Criminal Security Sector that they found at the main bus-station in Abu Dhabi.