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governmentOctober 8, 2020

Criticism mounts over delay of Lebanon port explosion investigations

Lebanese President Michel Aoun refused to sign the draft decrees to dismiss three public directors, who are under investigation over the Beirut port explosion, without a formal cabinet decision.

Pursuant to the provisions of the constitution and the laws in force, the President of the Republic will not sign any of these draft decrees, as long as no decisions regarding them have been issued nominally and individually by the Council of Ministers,” the presidential office said on Monday.

For his part, the head of the Progressive Socialist Party (PSP), Walid Jumblatt, criticized the stalling in the investigations.

The heroes of the fire brigade and civil defense are left behind. Beirut municipality does not exist. Customs officers and agents with their fancy cars are like crows over a carcass. The army alone is trying to collect the rubble in a ground soaked in burning oils. The silos are full of contaminated wheat and corn, which merchants are trying to steal and sell,” he said in a tweet.

Resigned MP Paula Yacoubian, also criticized the delay in the probe, saying: “Two months have passed since the explosion and the investigations are blown into the unknown. Unfortunately, the result is expected. The mafia does not condemn itself.”

The families of the victims of the fire brigade in the port explosion threatened to escalate their moves in response to the stalling in the probe.

“If our call is not met, we will not be silent. We will not rest until the truth is known… We will not allow corruption to obscure our rights,” a representative of the families of the victims told a news conference on Monday.

“We call for an urgent parliamentary session to lift the immunity of those involved in the case. We want to see the course of the investigation, lift its secrecy, and announce August 4 as a national day of mourning,” she added.

The Judiciary has so far arrested 25 persons in the case, including the Customs Director General Badri Daher, the director of land and maritime transport, Abdel Hafiz Kaissi and the port’s director-general Hassan Koraytem