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Lebanese port explosion prosecutor summons former military chief

BEIRUT (AP) – The prosecutor investigating final 12 months’s large explosion within the port of the Lebanese capital has summoned a number of individuals, together with a former military commander, for questioning within the case, officers stated on Monday. judicial officers.

The questioning marks the resumption of Decide Fadi Sawwan’s investigation into the explosion after almost a two-month hiatus following authorized challenges to his authority. The summons got here as Lebanon started to ease a strict 25-day nationwide lockdown that included a curfew to attempt to restrict the unfold of the coronavirus.

The state-run nationwide information company stated Sawwan had made appointments to listen to witnesses and others indicted within the Aug. 4 explosion of almost 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrate, a extremely explosive materials used primarily as a fertilizer.

The explosion, one of many largest non-nuclear explosions in historical past, killed 211 individuals, injured greater than 6,000 and broken complete neighborhoods of the capital Beirut.

Amongst these summoned for questioning by Sawwan is former military commander Gen. Jean Kahwaji, court docket officers stated. Officers, who spoke on situation of anonymity underneath rules, stated Kahwaji could be questioned as a witness.

The names of different interviewees weren’t disclosed.

The military command, when Kahwaji was in cost, was one of many entities that exchanged letters with the customs division about what to do with the ammonium nitrate, because it was stored in a warehouse. of the port for six years till it exploded.

In April 2016, the navy stated in a letter that it didn’t want the fabric, including that if a non-public explosives firm in Lebanon additionally didn’t want it, the fabric must be exported on the expense. from the shipowner who introduced it. in Liban.

The resumption of the investigation is more likely to allay the issues of members of the general public who feared the investigation would finish, given the decades-long tradition of impunity in Lebanon.

Practically 30 individuals, most of them port and customs officers, have been arrested for the reason that explosion.

In December, Sawwan lodged a criticism in opposition to appearing Prime Minister Hassan Diab and three former ministers, accusing them of negligence ensuing within the deaths of a whole lot of individuals.

Diab and the three former ministers didn’t seem for questioning following the costs.

Diab’s summons drew concerted criticism from most senior Lebanese politicians and the militant group Hezbollah, who urged Sawwan to rethink his determination after describing it as politically motivated.

Sawwan has suspended his investigation to permit him to answer costs that he violated authorized and constitutional procedures by summoning Diab and former ministers.

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