Prosecution Approves Request to Release 2 Port Blast Suspects

FILE - In this Aug. 5, 2020 file photo, smoke rises after an explosion the day before at the seaport of Beirut, Lebanon. On Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021, Lebanon's highest court asked the chief prosecutor investigating last year's massive Beirut port explosion to step down, following legal challenges by senior officials he had accused of negligence that led to the blast, a judicial official and the country's official news agency said. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla, File)

The public prosecutor’s office on Thursday approved a request for the release of two Beirut port officials held in connection with the catastrophic August 4 explosion.

State-run National News Agency identified the two officials as Hassan Qureitem, the head of the interim committee for the port’s administration and investment, who was relieved of his duties after the disaster, and Mohammed Ziad al-Aoun, the head of the port’s security and safety department.

Both suspects had been officially charged by the lead judicial investigator into the case, Judge Fadi Sawwan, who was removed Thursday by the Court of Cassation following a challenge filed by two former ministers.

The request for the release of Qureitem and al-Aouf had been filed by their lawyer Sakhr al-Hashem and has been returned to the judicial investigator to take the appropriate decision, NNA added.

The next move is now to be decided by the judge who will replace Sawwan.



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