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Port Investigation

Aoun says he is ready to answer questions on Beirut blast

President Michel Aoun delivers an address in August 2020. (Credit: Dalati & Nohra)

BEIRUT – Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun told the country’s public prosecutor on Friday he was ready to give a statement about last year’s port blast in the capital of Beirut if needed.

“No one is above the law no matter how high up, and justice can only be achieved through the specialized judicial branches that provide guarantees,” Aoun told prosecutor Ghassan Ouidat during a meeting, according to a statement released by the president’s office.

The Aug. 4 port explosion, caused by a huge quantity of the chemical fertilizer ammonium nitrate that had been stored unsafely for years, killed more than 200 people, injured thousands and destroyed large swathes of the capital.

A probe into the blast led by Judge Tarek Bitar has been hindered over the past month as requests sent to Parliament and the government to lift immunity and enable the questioning of several top officials were either declined or stalled.

Many Lebanese are angry that nearly a year after the incident, no senior official has yet been held responsible.

Influential Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri said on Thursday that the legislature was ready to lift the immunity of its members to allow for questioning but did not detail when or how this would be done.



BEIRUT – Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun
told the country’s public prosecutor on Friday he was ready to
give a statement about last year’s port blast in the capital of Beirut if needed.
“No one is above the law no matter how high up, and justice
can only be achieved through the specialized judicial branches
that provide guarantees,” Aoun told...