BEIRUT — Relatives of detainees held in connection to the Aug. 4 Beirut port blast investigation met with Justice Minister Henri Khoury to demand the release of their family members, citing a conflict between “politics and judicial power.”
Here’s what we know:
• Moudi Koraytem, speaking on behalf of the relatives of detainees, denounced a “judicio-political conflict” marring the investigation and demanded the release of the detainees awaiting trial, adding that they had already been interrogated by Judge Tarek Bitar, currently presiding over the case, as well as his predecessor, Judge Fadi Sawwan.
• Presently, around 15 detainees — most of them officials and security personnel, including head of Customs Badri Daher — are being held as part of the port blast probe. The investigation has been marred by political conflicts, including attempts to dismiss Bitar over his efforts to question members of Parliament. The Shiite parties Hezbollah and Amal accused Bitar of “politicizing” the investigation and say his pursuit of sitting MPs is an overstep into the jurisdiction of the Supreme Council, which is intended to try ministers and presidents.