Beirut explosion

Order to seize Hezbollah-allied Lebanon MPs’ property over port blast

Officials close to the powerful Hezbollah movement have also curtailed Judge Bitar’s work with a series of lawsuits.

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Judicial authorities in Lebanon Wednesday ordered the temporary seizure of the property of two deputies allied with Hezbollah in the case of the deadly explosion which destroyed Beirut port two years ago.

“Judge Najah Itani has issued a temporary seizure order worth 100 billion Lebanese pounds on the property of MPs Ali Hassan Khalil and Ghazi Zeaiter,” a judicial source told AFP.

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The source said the decision was issued in the context of a complaint filed by the Beirut Bar Association to question the two for having “used their rights... in an arbitrary manner by filing complaints intended to hinder the investigation.”

Compensation of 100 billion Lebanese pounds is being sought.

On Thursday, crisis-hit Lebanon marked two years since the massive port blast ripped through Beirut.

The dockside blast of haphazardly stored ammonium nitrate, one of history’s biggest non-nuclear explosions, killed more than 200 people, wounded thousands and decimated vast areas of the capital.

After the tragedy, the bar launched legal proceedings against the state on behalf of nearly 1,400 families of victims.

However, an investigation into the cause has been stalled amid political interference and no state official has yet been held accountable over the tragedy.

Khalil and Zeaiter, of Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri’s Amal party, filed a total of 20 complaints against Judge Tarek Bitar for obstructing the investigation which he himself was carrying out.

Politicians on all sides have refused to be questioned by the judge.

Officials close to the powerful Hezbollah movement have also curtailed Bitar’s work with a series of lawsuits.

His investigation has been paused since December 23.

On Thursday’s second anniversary of the blast, relatives of victims demanded an international inquiry.

Read more: Beirut Port Blast survivor still living with severe PTSD, moved to Dubai to feel safe

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