Portuguese / Spanish / English

Lebanon: prime minister signs bill lifting Beirut blast immunity

Prime Minister Najib Mikatin Beirut, Lebanon on August 02, 2021 [LEBANESE PRESIDENCY/Anadolu Agency]
Prime Minister Najib Mikatin Beirut, Lebanon on August 02, 2021 [LEBANESE PRESIDENCY/Anadolu Agency]

Lebanon's Prime Minister Najib Mikati told Sky News Arabia on Wednesday that he has signed a bill that lifts immunity on "everyone" who might have borne responsibility for the Beirut port blast, Reuters has reported. "They must be held accountable," insisted Mikati.

The disastrous explosion on 4 August last year left more than 200 people dead and devastated swathes of the Lebanese capital. The investigation into the explosion, one of the biggest non-nuclear blasts in history, has made little headway amid a smear campaign against investigation Judge Tarek Bitar and pushback from powerful Lebanese factions.

Mikati pointed out that Lebanon's constitution stipulated that senior government officials must be tried in front of a special tribunal. He added that the government will extend help to the families of the blast victims, and that a plan has been formulated to reconstruct the port, a vital lifeline for the Lebanese economy.

READ: Lebanon politicians own most offshore companies in the world, Pandora Papers find

Many in Lebanon, particularly families of the victims of the blast, are furious that no senior official has yet been held accountable more than a year later. Bitar's efforts to question former and serving state officials — including the prime minister at the time of the blast, ex-ministers and senior security officials suspected of negligence — have been blocked repeatedly.

Categories
LebanonMiddle EastNews
Show Comments
Show Comments