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Blast victims' families call for dismissal of Lebanon's top prosecutor

Blast victims' families call for dismissal of Lebanon's top prosecutor

A protester holding a sign "Sack Ghassan Oueidate" during a demonstration in front of the Beirut courthouse, January 28, 2023. Credit: Mohammed Yassine/L'Orient-Le Jour)

BEIRUT — Roughly 60 people staged a protest Saturday morning in front of the Justice Palace in Beirut to demand the dismissal of Lebanon's top prosecutor, Ghassan Oueidat.

On Wednesday, Oueidat ordered the release of all the suspects detained in relation to the Beirut port explosion investigation and initiated proceedings against lead investigating judge, Tarek Bitar.

Demonstrators holding signs calling for the dismissal of Ghassan Oueidate, General Prosecutor at the Court of Cassation, during a demonstration at the courthouse in Beirut on January 28, 2023. (Credit: Joao Sousa/L'Orient Today)

Oueidat's decision caused tensions on Thursday when clashes broke out between the victims' families and security forces, who used batons and tear gas on protesters.

'All this, we remember it'

According to L'Orient Today's photographers in the area, Saturday's demonstrators numbered around 60. Although the atmosphere was calm, protesters brandished signs with slogans like "Sack Ghassan Oueidat," and "criminal magistrate, defender of the militia."

"We have come to express our rejection of the action of the regime-affiliated prosecutor general, Ghassan Oueidate," one protester told L'Orient-Le Jour. "His obstruction of the investigation started two years ago and his latest act is shameful!" 


Demonstrators gathered in front of the Beirut courthouse to demand the dismissal of Ghassan Oueidate, January 28, 2023. (Credit: Mohammad Yassine/L'Orient-Le Jour)

"All this we remember," she continued, before adding: "We also know that Oueidate was aware of the presence of the [ammonium] nitrate since June 2020 and that he merely signed a document to order the maintenance of Hangar 12."

The Aug. 4, 2020, port explosion was caused by a fire in the port's Hanger 12, where several thousand tons of ammonium nitrate — an explosive also used as fertilizer — was stored since 2013.

Since the horrific explosion, families of the victims have continuously demanded justice and hold regular demonstrations while Judge Bitar's investigation has been blocked by political interference. 

BEIRUT — Roughly 60 people staged a protest Saturday morning in front of the Justice Palace in Beirut to demand the dismissal of Lebanon's top prosecutor, Ghassan Oueidat. On Wednesday, Oueidat ordered the release of all the suspects detained in relation to the Beirut port explosion investigation and initiated proceedings against lead investigating judge, Tarek Bitar.Demonstrators holding signs...