Beirut explosion victims’ families want to prosecute officials

Beirut (AP) —Families of victims of a major explosion at the port of Beirut last year pressure Congress to lift the immunity of three lawmakers at the request of a judge leading the investigation into the explosion. To protest in the capital on Friday.

One of the protests took place near the residence of Speaker of the Assembly Nabih Berri, where the Judiciary Committee of Parliament was meeting on a request for immunity. Lebanese troops have pushed protesters back from tightly protected buildings.

Many Lebanese blame the country’s dominant elite for the negligence that led to the harbor explosion.

“You have blown up Beirut and put people in a casket,” read the flag held by one of the protesters.

According to Parliamentary Vice-Chairman Elie Ferzli, the Commission decided to first ask the judge to consider evidence for the three before deciding on immunity.

Judge Tarek Bitar announced last week that he would pursue senior politicians and former and current security ministers in the case, seeking permission to prosecute them.

Hundreds of tonnes of ammonium nitrate, a highly explosive substance used in fertilizers that have been improperly stored in ports for years, exploded on August 4, killing 211 people and killing more than 6,000. He was injured and the neighborhood was devastated.

“Shame them. They are confronting the riot police against the martyr’s family,” exclaimed Ibrahim Hotate, whose brother Talwat Hotate was killed in the blast.

Last Friday, Vital asked the government and the Interior Ministry for permission to ask two of Lebanon’s most prominent security directors, including Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim.

Interior Minister Mohammed Femi reportedly declined the request on Friday. Ibrahim issued a statement stating that he is in compliance with the law, but someone is trying to damage his image.

The victim’s family also held a rally outside the Interior Ministry late Friday to protest Femi’s decision.

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