The Lebanese Court of Cassation Thursday issued a decision to remove lead investigator Judge Fadi Sawwan from the Beirut blast probe, a judicial source told The Daily Star.
Head of the Court of Cassation Judge Jamal al-Hajjar decided to remove Sawwan and refer the probe to another judge. His decision came after former Public Works and Transport Minister Ghazi Zeaiter and former Finance Minister Ali Hasan Khalil challenged the court to remove Sawwan and filed a request back in December.
This is yet another setback for the already stalled investigation into the Beirut blast as the justice minister has to now propose a new name to lead the probe, which the Judicial Council should approve. The new judge will then have to launch the investigation all over again.
Sawwan had charged caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab along with Zeaiter, Khalil and former Public Works Minister Youssef Fenianos for negligence in connection to the Aug.4 Beirut Port Blast. All of these officials have refused to be interrogated by the judge.
More than six months after the Beirut Port blast that killed more than 200 people and left around 6,000 injured, families of victims and the general public await accountability as no one has been sentenced yet in connection to the blast. Sawwan had brought charges against 37 people, of whom 25 are detained. All are mid- to low-level security and port officials.
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