Arrest warrant issued for ex-minister over Beirut blast

The decide overseeing Lebanon’s probe of the Beirut port explosion issued an arrest warrant on Thursday for a former authorities minister, the state-run information company reported.

Youssef Fenianos, a former public works and transportation minister, had refused to look for questioning earlier than Choose Tareq Bitar. Fenianos, who ran the ministry from 2016 to 2020, is amongst a number of authorities officers summoned by Bitar for alleged involvement within the blast.

Fenianos’ lawyer informed Agence France-Presse that the warrant was a “blatant violation of the legislation.” Nazih al-Khoury informed the information company the protection staff is weighing its authorized choices.

The August 2020 blast at Lebanon’s most important port killed at the very least 215 folks, injured over 6,500 and displaced greater than 300,000 from their properties. A lot of the Lebanese capital was affected by the accident, which caused billions in damage and added to the small Mediterranean nation’s dire financial scenario.  

Final month, an investigation from Human Rights Watch concluded that senior Lebanese officers knew about and did nothing to forestall the dangers related to the stockpile of ammonium nitrate that caused the explosion.

Bitar issued the warrant for Fenianos’ arrest a day after 145 survivors, relations and rights organizations published a joint letter calling for the United Nations Human Rights Council to determine an impartial investigation into the explosion. 

“The failures of the home investigation to make sure accountability dramatically illustrates the bigger tradition of impunity for officers that has lengthy been the case in Lebanon,” learn the letter, which was signed by teams together with Amnesty Worldwide and Human Rights Watch. 

The home investigation into the explosion has been gradual transferring. In February a courtroom eliminated Choose Fadi Sawan after two former ministers he had accused of legal negligence filed a criticism in opposition to him. His substitute, Bitar, has additionally struggled to prosecute Beirut authorities as a result of the parliament hasn’t lifted their immunity. Former Prime Minister Hassan Diab has additionally declined to look for questioning.

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