On Sunday, Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat expressed concern that the appointment of a new investigation team into the port blast in Beirut could be aimed at “wrapping up and burying” the probe.
“The main point in the issue of the port bombing and the resulting destruction and death is not probing how the blast happened, but rather unveiling the truth about who brought the ammonium nitrate shipment and who covered for its presence until the disaster occurred,” Jumblat tweeted.
“Is the new investigation team a Trojan horse aimed at wrapping up and burying the file?” Jumblat asked.
A day after his predecessor was removed from the case, Lebanon appointed a new judge on Friday to lead the probe into the devastating blast.
On August 4, Tarek al-Bitar will become the second judge to investigate the explosion of hundreds of tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, killing over 200 people, injuring thousands and devastating swaths of the capital.
Bitar takes the position after Judge Fadi Sawwan was removed from the case by a court on Thursday following a complaint from two former ministers accused of negligence over the explosion.
Lawyer and activist Nizar Saghieh welcomed the appointment of Bitar tentatively, and said he had a good reputation as competent.
But after the removal of Sawan, he wondered whether the new judge would be able “without interference or pressure.” to perform his work.
“Will he be able to cross the red lines?” he asked.
The probe into the worst peace-time disaster in Lebanon has resulted in the arrest of 25 people, from maintenance workers to the customs director of the port, but not a single politician.