Judge probing deadly Beirut blast charged

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s top prosecutor has filed charges against the judge investigating the deadly blast at Beirut’s port in 2020 and ordered the release of all suspects detained in connection with the case, according to reports citing judicial sources.
The decision on Wednesday by Ghassan Oweidat reflected escalating opposition by Lebanon’s governing class to efforts by Judge Tarek Bitar to resume his probe into the devastating explosion that killed some 220 people, injured thousands and wrecked large parts of the Lebanese capital.
It was not immediately clear what charges Bitar faced. Reports said both the judge and the released detainees faced a travel ban.
Reporters, reporting from Beirut, said Oweidat had summoned Bitar to the Justice Palace in Beirut at 08:00 GMT on Thursday. The Supreme Judicial Council is also set to meet at 11:00 GMT in an effort to find a judge to replace Bitar, but it remained unclear whether there will be a quorum to set the process in motion, added Khodr.
The judicial spat began on Monday when Bitar unexpectedly resumed his inquiry after a 13-month suspension due to political resistance to his attempts to interrogate top officials. –Agencies