US denounces Hezbollah “intimidation” against Lebanese judge investigating 2020 blasts in Beirut


The United States Government has denounced the “intimidation” of the Lebanese Shiite militia party Hezbollah to the judge investigating the August 2020 explosions in the port of Beirut and has said that the group’s “terrorist and illicit” actions “threaten the security and stability “of the country.

“We oppose intimidation of the justice apparatus of any country and we support Lebanon’s judicial independence. Judges must be free from threats and intimidation, also by Hezbollah,” said US State Department spokesman Ned Price. .

Thus, he stressed that Washington considers that “Hezbollah is more concerned about its own interests and those of its employer, Iran, than those of the Lebanese people,” while calling for a “swift and transparent” investigation into the explosion, which left more than 200 dead and enormous material damage.

Price also stated that the Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, Victoria Nuland, will visit Lebanon “to continue the important bilateral discussions with the Lebanese authorities, but also in other contexts, with Saudi and French partners and in trilateral format with both. “.

In this way, he stressed that these meetings will value the delivery of “humanitarian aid so desperately needed” by the Lebanese people while “supporting the formation of a stable and inclusive government that responds to the profound needs of the Lebanese people.”

Price’s words have come after the investigation of Judge Tarek Bitar was again suspended after a new demand for his dismissal by several former ministers called to testify for their alleged negligence in the event.

Bitar issued an arrest warrant for the former minister Alí Hasán Jalil on Tuesday after failing to appear for questioning, although shortly after he was notified of the suspension of the investigations by the new lawsuit, presented by Jalil himself and also former minister Ghazi Zeaiter. The courts have previously rejected several lawsuits against Bitar.

The new suspension of the investigations also came after the leader of Hezbollah, Hasan Nasrallah, charged hard against Bitar and accused him of having “selective” and “politicized” positions. Thus, he demanded that he be replaced “by a transparent and honest judge” and added that the families “will not get the truth with this judge.”

Nasralá warned that “the country could go towards a great disaster if the judge continues to act in this way” and reiterated that “what is happening in the investigation of the explosion in the port has nothing to do with justice or the law. “.

“What is happening in the investigation is a very, very, very, very big mistake and we will not accept that the matter continues like this for the next few days,” he said. “It must resolve the matter and, if it does not do so, the Government must resolve it,” he settled.

Popular unrest has been on the rise in recent months due to the blocking of investigations and delays in the withdrawal of the immunity of former ministers and parliamentarians whom Judge Bitar has summoned to testify in the framework of the investigations, including Diab, who resigned after the explosions and remained in office until an agreement was reached to form the new government in September.

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