BEIRUT, Oct 12 (Reuters) – The lead decide investigating final 12 months’s catastrophic Beirut port blast issued an arrest warrant on Tuesday for former finance minister Ali Hassan Khalil after he failed to point out up for questioning.
Khalil, a senior member of the Shi’ite Amal motion and an ally of the armed Iranian-backed Hezbollah group, was not instantly reachable for remark.
Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah voiced his harshest criticism but of lead Decide Tarek Bitar on Monday when he known as for his substitute in a televised tackle, saying he was biased and politicised. learn extra
The remarks got here weeks after Wafik Safa, a senior Hezbollah official, was mentioned to have warned Bitar the group would take away him from the inquiry, in keeping with a journalist and a judicial supply. learn extra
The investigation into the Aug. 4, 2020, explosion, one of many greatest non-nuclear blasts in historical past, has made little headway amid the marketing campaign in opposition to Bitar and pushback from highly effective Lebanese factions.
Khalil’s arrest warrant is the second for an ex-minister arising from the investigation.
The primary was issued for ex-public works minister Youssef Finianos in September when he too repeatedly failed to point out for questioning. learn extra
Finianos hasn’t been arrested but regardless of the warrant.
Decide Tarek Bitar had issued a number of requests in July to query a number of prime officers, together with former prime minister Hassan Diab, a number of ex-ministers and the nation’s prime safety chief on negligence.
All have denied wrongdoing.
However Bitar’s request have been met with resistance and authorized complaints questioning his impartiality, that in a single occasion final month compelled the probe to return to a standstill for a bit over per week.
One other former public works minister, Ghazi Zeiter, additionally a senior member of Amal and an ally of Hezbollah, is due for questioning tomorrow. He’s extensively anticipated to not present up.
Whereas Bitar has sought to query a number of politicians who’re allied to Hezbollah, together with Khalil and Zeiter, he has not sought to query any members of Hezbollah itself.
Writing By Maha El Dahan; Modifying by Raissa Kasolowsky
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