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PORT EXPLOSION INVESTIGATION

Dozens demonstrate near Oueidat's house following his decision to release blast detainees

Dozens demonstrate near Oueidat's house following his decision to release blast detainees

The mother of one of the victims of the 2020 Beirut port blast demonstrates near the house of Lebanon's top prosecutor Ghassan Oueidat after he ordered the release of all blast detainees. (Credit: Moe Yassine/OLJ)

BEIRUT — Dozens of people demonstrated in Baabda, Wednesday evening, near the house of the Public Prosecutor of the Court of Cassation Ghassan Oueidat, who earlier in the day ordered the release of 17 people detained in connection to the 2020 Beirut port blast, L'Orient Today's correspondent reported.

The Lebanese Army was present at the scene, the correspondent added. "Stop protecting them, wake up," a protester shouted at the troops.

"This judge is a criminal," another wrote on a wall.

"Ghassan Oueidat has no right to do what he did," said Cecile Roukoz, who lost her brother in the explosion and is one of the lawyers of the blast victims' families. "He does not have the file. How can he know if the people he ordered released are innocent or not? Who killed our brothers and sisters? Who?"

Roukoz said Oudeidat's charging Tarek Bitar, the lead investigator in the blast probe, "is a rape of power," adding, that "we will demonstrate against this decision."

Judge Oueidat filed a lawsuit against Bitar earlier Wednesday. Bitar — who decided Monday to resume his investigation, which has been suspended for 13 months due to political pressure — has been charged with "rebellion against justice" and "usurpation of power."

Bitar is expected to appear in court Thursday morning, according to a judicial official who requested anonymity. According to the same source, Bitar intends not to comply with the summons.

A demonstration in support of Bitar and against the release the blast detainees is scheduled to take place Thursday at 11 a.m. in front of Beirut Justice Palace.

Additional reporting by Lyana Alameddine


BEIRUT — Dozens of people demonstrated in Baabda, Wednesday evening, near the house of the Public Prosecutor of the Court of Cassation Ghassan Oueidat, who earlier in the day ordered the release of 17 people detained in connection to the 2020 Beirut port blast, L'Orient Today's correspondent reported.The Lebanese Army was present at the scene, the correspondent added. "Stop protecting them,...