Beirut blast
Beirut blast Image Credit: AFP

Abu Dhabi: Hezbollah sent a threatening letter to Judge Tariq Al Bitar, who is looking into the case of the bloody Beirut port blast which killed 214 people last year and wounded hundreds, a Lebanese journalist said on his Twitter account on Tuesday.

According to the tweet, Hezbollah warned “he will be sacked from his position, if he goes too far in his investigations,” according to a report published by Al

As soon as journalist Edmond Sassin published the tweet, a pro-Hezbollah journalist criticised him.

But he stood by the statement, expessing hisconfidence in the information, stressing that Hezbollah’s Wafiq Safa contacted the judge and threatened to dismiss him from his position if he completed his procedures.

The Minister of Interior and Municipalities, Bassam Mawlawi, denied knowledge of any threats against Bitar.

Well-informed sources told Al Arabiya that the Public Prosecutor, Judge Ghassan Oweidat, asked Bitar to prepare a report on what was being circulated in the media and to include testimonies of those who transmitted this information.

The sources did not confirm nor deny Safa’s contact with Judge Bitar, but reports confirmed that a Hezbollah representative had visited the court on Monday, met with those concerned and informed them of what he described as “excesses” carried out by Bitar in the investigation file of the port explosion.

A few days ago, Bitar issued an arrest warrant in absentia against the former Minister of Public Works and Transport, Youssef Fenianos, “after his refusal to appear before him for interrogation, despite being duly informed of the date of the hearing.”

He also ordered former Prime Minister Hassan Diab be interrogated, the immunity lifted of three members of parliament, who previously held ministerial positions: Ali Hassan Khalil (Finance), Ghazi Zuaiter (works), who are allies of Hezbollah, as well as Nuhad Al Machnouk (Interior) “in preparation for the initiation of legal proceedings against them.”

In addition, he asked the Bar Association in Tripoli to grant him permission to prosecute Fenianos, who is close to Hezbollah, and from the Minister of Interior to grant him approval to file a lawsuit against the Director General of Public Security, Major General Abbas Ibrahim (also from those close to the party).

These requests apparently irritated Hezbollah, especially as they affected its allies and close associates, which prompted the party’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, last month to question the credibility of the investigations, branding the investigator of the Beirut port blast “politically biased”.