BEIRUT — A group of relatives of victims of the deadly Aug. 4, 2020, Beirut port explosion, which distanced itself several months ago from the main group, staged a sit-in outside Parliament Thursday afternoon.
They again called on chief investigating Judge Tarek Bitar to withdraw from the case.
The main victims' families group and several MPs that support Judge Bitar demonstrated in front of Parliament that same morning, to demand a resumption of the investigation that has been paralyzed for months.
Speaking to media on the scene, Ibrahim Hoteit, a spokesperson for the group opposed to Bitar, also expressed strong criticism of magistrate Jad Maalouf.
Maalouf's testimony has already been heard by the judiciary in the probe, but no formal legal proceedings have been launched against him.
Hoteit also pleaded for the release of those "detained" as part of the investigation, "whose alleged guilt has still not been proven."
Several port officials, including the director general of customs, Badri Daher (close to the Free Patriotic Movement), are being held in pre-trial detention— some since August 2020.
On Wednesday, Judge Bitar met with a French judicial delegation that is visiting Lebanon to investigate the death of two French citizens in the explosion.
According to a judicial source, the magistrate "refused to inform the French delegation of the details of the investigation or to provide them with any document, arguing that his work is suspended."