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Lebanon’s Hariri wants immunity lifted from officials to investigate port blast

July 28, 2021 at 10:52 am

Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri in Moscow, Russia on 16 April 2021. [Russian Foreign Ministry/Anadolu Agency]

Lebanese former prime minister and leader of the Future Movement, Saad Hariri, yesterday proposed that officials have their diplomatic immunity “temporarily suspend[ed]” in order to investigate the Beirut port blast which killed more than 200 people in August last year.

“Our proposal is to take an extraordinary decision to suspend all constitutional and legal articles that grant immunity or special treatment to try the president of the republic, the prime minister, ministers, representatives, judges, officials and even lawyers,” Hariri told reporters in Beirut.

Earlier this month, Judge Tarek Bitar requested the lifting of immunity from three members of parliament and former ministers, Nohad Machnouk, Ali Hassan Khali and Ghazi Zeaiter. Machnouk was close to Hariri and was part of his parliamentary coalition.

Bitar also seeks to investigate the Director of Public Security, Major General Abbas Ibrahim, along with five security and military leaders, including former army chief, Jean Kahwaji.

READ: What fate awaits Lebanon? 

The Minister of Interior Mohamed Fahmy refused the request to investigate Ibrahim while there was no response from the army command.

The Beirut Port explosion killed more than 200 people, injured about 6,000 others and caused massive material damage to residential buildings and commercial institutions across the capital.