Lebanon judges resign over political interference in the judiciary

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Three senior Lebanese judges have resigned over political interference in the country’s judiciary as investigations into the port of Beirut explosion stall in August 2020.

The three judges, all women, resigned on Wednesday “to protest political interference in the work of the judiciary and the undermining of decisions made by judges and courts,” a judicial source told AFP.

The judges were not named in the report.

At least two major investigations – the August 2020 investigation into the port explosion and an investigation into allegations of tax evasion and illicit enrichment by the governor of the Lebanese central bank – have been delayed by complaints against the judges in charge of the investigation.

The investigation into Riyad Salame has been suspended pending proceedings against Jean Tannous, the chief judge.

Meanwhile, Tarek Bitar, who leads the investigation into the port explosion that killed more than 200 people, has been hit by a spate of complaints from politicians he indicted or brought up for questioning over the summer.

On Thursday, the country’s supreme court dismissed a lawsuit brought by former Prime Minister Hassan Diab and three other ex-ministers against Mr. Bitar, alleging that he had made “serious mistakes” in his investigation.

They also alleged that Mr. Bitar did not have the authority to prosecute them.

All were charged with misconduct in the explosion investigation, but their lawsuits against Mr. Bitar resulted in the investigation being suspended. However, the investigation has not yet continued as another lawsuit is still under review.

Beirut explosion reconstruction – in pictures

Updated: November 25, 2021, 6:49 p.m.


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