12/21/2020, 00.00
LEBANON
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For Card Rahi, parliament’s interference would be the ‘death’ of the investigation into the explosions

Referring the case to parliament would destroy the investigation into the incident. For the cardinal, the danger of “politicisation” among the various groups is high. Two former ministers have rejected the summon to appear before the court in charge of the inquest. For the Maronite primate, people “want to know who killed their children”.

Beirut (AsiaNews) – Referring to parliament the double explosion at the port of Beirut on 4 August would represent the “death of the ongoing investigation”, which would end up being “politicised by various political groups,” said Maronite Primate Card Beshara al-Rahi in his homily during Sunday Mass, celebrated yesterday at the patriarchal see in Bkerké.

The course of justice has taken a decidedly political and sectarian turn after the indictment of former Prime Minister Hassan Diab and three former ministers. For the cardinal, there is a high risk that the investigation might “die” if politicians get involved.

“The investigation will end badly if they continue to procrastinate,” Card Rahi explained. There is a danger that the “whole state structure might collapse” if full light is not shed on the events that surround the double explosion.

Recently, two of the four people at the centre of the investigation, lawmakers and former ministers Ali Hassan Khalil and Ghazi Zaiter, challenged the court by ignoring its summon to appear and claiming to be victims of “political and sectarian attack”.

The two branded the summon as “anti-constitutional”, stating that they will answer only to the High Court of Parliament, a body that is clearly political and not independent.

Sources in the judiciary, cited by Lebanese French-language newspaper L’Orient-Le Jour, slam the indifference of many lawmakers and their lack of interest in shedding light on the causes of what is perceived as a national tragedy.

This suggests why the authorities decided not to set up a commission of inquiry into an incident with inevitable moral and political repercussions, as well as human and economic consequences.

Speaking about the latest political events, Card Rahi expressed hope that “the investigation can continue” because “people want to know who killed their children, who destroyed the port and the capital.”

For the primate, “No one is interested in the legal niceties.” What people want, “is to know who brought in the explosive material, who it belonged to, who allowed it to be stored, and who took some of it out.”

Yesterday, the cardinal met with the leader of the Free Patriotic Movement Ibrahim Kanaan, to discuss the current political situation and the creation of the new government.

During the meeting, the prelate renewed his call for the formation of a new cabinet “as soon as possible” in accordance with the constitution so as to end the long-standing deadlock.

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