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PORT INVESTIGATION

Port investigator orders security forces to ensure Lebanon’s prime minister appears for questioning

Port investigator orders security forces to ensure Lebanon’s prime minister appears for questioning

Caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab failed to appear for questioning in the port explosion case on Thursday, the NNA reported. (Credit: Dalati & Nohra)

BEIRUT — The lead investigator into the Aug. 4 Beirut port explosion has ordered security forces to ensure Lebanon’s caretaker prime minister appears for questioning on Sept. 20, after the premier failed to show for his scheduled interrogation on Thursday.

Here’s what we know:

    • Tarek Bitar, the judge investigating the deadly explosion, issued an “enforceable summons” against caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab, the state-run National News Agency reported.

    • According to Article 106 of Lebanon’s Code of Criminal Procedure, the summons contains an order for security services to ensure Diab’s “presence within 24 hours of the date of the scheduled hearing.”

    • Diab had been scheduled to appear before Bitar on Thursday, but failed to show, the NNA said; a new hearing has been set for Sept. 20.

    • Bitar initially summoned Diab for questioning as a defendant in the case in early July.

    • While the particular reasons for the summons remain unknown, Diab, along with other top officials, had knowledge of the ammonium nitrate stored at the port prior to its explosion.

    • Diab, along with other officials, was previously charged with criminal negligence in the case by Bitar’s predecessor, Fadi Sawwan. Sawwan was later fired.

    • Following the explosion, which killed at least 218 people, wounded thousands and caused extensive damage to swathes of the capital, Diab’s cabinet resigned. Politicians have been unable or unwilling to appoint a new government in the intervening year. Meanwhile, no officials have been held accountable for the disaster.


BEIRUT — The lead investigator into the Aug. 4 Beirut port explosion has ordered security forces to ensure Lebanon’s caretaker prime minister appears for questioning on Sept. 20, after the premier failed to show for his scheduled interrogation on Thursday.Here’s what we know:    • Tarek Bitar, the judge investigating the deadly explosion, issued an “enforceable summons”...