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PORT INVESTIGATION

Ibrahim Hoteit calls out port investigation judge Tarek Bitar: 'You are now our adversary'

Ibrahim Hoteit calls out port investigation judge Tarek Bitar: 'You are now our adversary'

The spokesman for the relatives of the victims of the Aug. 4 explosion at the port of Beirut, Ibrahim Hoteit. (Credit: Video screenshot )

BEIRUT — Ibrahim Hoteit, spokesperson for one of the two rival groups representing the relatives of the victims of the Beirut port blast, attacked on Tuesday the investigating judge on the case, Tarek Bitar, asking him to resign and to stop “conspiring” against the families of the victims of the blast.

Here’s what we know:

    • On Tuesday, during a press conference held on the occasion of the second commemoration of the explosion, Hoteit addressed Bitar by saying “you are not only arbitrary and politicized, but you are also plotting against our cause. He added, “Leave us alone. You are now our adversary; you cannot pursue the investigation. You should be ashamed of yourself and submit your resignation.”

    • Hoteit, who is the brother of one of the victims of the Aug. 4 blast, exposed “the facts on the basis of documents” that he claims to have access to, claiming that several officials currently behind bars — like Abdel Hafiz Kaissi, former director general of the Ministry of Transports, and Chafic Merhi, former head of customs — correctly fulfilled the obligations of their duties and having no basis for rapprochement.

    • He also defended the former Minister of Transport, Youssef Fenianos, subject of an arrest warrant in the same case.

    • On the other hand, he wondered why former ISF General Director, Minister of Justice under the government of Tammam Salam and current MP, Ashraf Rifi, was not arrested.

    • Hoteit also blamed the presence of the ammonium nitrate on the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, which he said was patrolling off the port of Beirut, as well as on the Lebanese Army and its commander-in-chief at the time, General Jean Kahwaji, who “then judged that these products were not illegal,” Hoteit claimed.

    • In a video that circulated on Oct. 15, 2021, Hoteit called for Bitar's resignation, which the group of victims’ families argued was under altered circumstances, and claimed Hoteit was speaking under duress, which he later denied, and he split from the group, forming a new rival group with several other families. 


BEIRUT — Ibrahim Hoteit, spokesperson for one of the two rival groups representing the relatives of the victims of the Beirut port blast, attacked on Tuesday the investigating judge on the case, Tarek Bitar, asking him to resign and to stop “conspiring” against the families of the victims of the blast. Here’s what we know:     • On Tuesday, during a press conference held on...