Lebanese Government Ministers Skip Court Appearance in Beirut Port Explosion Case
Two of the former Lebanese government ministers charged with criminal negligence in connection with the Beirut port explosion in August that killed 200 people and injured thousands said they would not appear for questioning before the judge in the case.
Prime Minister Hassan Diab, former public works ministers Ghazi Zaeiter and Youssef Fenianos and former Finance Minister Ali Hasan Khalil were charged in the explosion. Zaeiter and Khalil said they were not notified of Wednesday’s hearing. They also have petitioned the court to remove Sawan from the case over “legitimate suspicions” regarding his neutrality.
Diab, who resigned from his position as prime minister after the explosion but has continued in a caretaker role, refused to be questioned on Monday.
Sawan has declined to step down and set Jan. 4, 2021 as the new date for the two former ministers to appear in court for questioning.
The Aug. 4 explosion was caused by a huge stockpile of ammonium nitrate stored in a warehouse at the port in unsafe conditions.