The judge investigating the 2020 Beirut port explosion has charged Lebanon’s then-prime minister, Hassan Diab, and two other former ministers with homicide with probable intent, according to a court summons seen by the Reuters news agency.
Other top officials, including the country’s public prosecutor and the head of the domestic intelligence agency, were also charged in connection with the blast, judicial sources said on Tuesday.
Judge Tarek Bitar, who has unexpectedly resumed an inquiry that has been paralysed by high-level political resistance, has scheduled questioning with Prosecutor General Ghassan Oweidat for February.
Pierre Gemayel, brother of a victim, told Al Jazeera that he was surprised but also happy with Bitar’s move.
“It is not normal [that for] more than one year the investigation is blocked; now we have a little hope that something is moving on,” he said.
Bitar’s efforts to interrogate top officials over the explosion, which killed at least 218 people and shattered parts of Beirut, have been hindered by factions including heavily armed, Iran-backed Hezbollah.