Lebanese PM and three ex ministers are charged with negligence over catastrophic explosion in Beirut that left more than 200 dead



  • Outgoing PM Hassan Diab was charged on Thursday along with three officials
  • Former finance minister Ali Hassan Khalil was also charged along with Youssef Fenianos and Ghazi Zaiter – two former public works ministers
  • The men are accused of negligence over the August 4 blast that killed more than 300 people, wounded thousands and destroyed a large number of buildings 
  • Judge Fadi Sawan is expected to begin questioning the suspects on Monday

Lebanon’s prime minister and three ex ministers have been charged with negligence over the catastrophic Beirut port explosion that left more than 200 dead. 

A judicial source confirmed the charges against outgoing premier Hassan Diab on Thursday.

Ali Hassan Khalil, a former finance minister and Youssef Fenianos and Ghazi Zaiter, two former public works ministers have also been charged. 

They are the first politicians to be indicted over the devastating August 4 blast that killed more than 200 people, disfigured the heart of the capital and stoked a wave of already-intense public anger against Lebanon’s ruling elite.

The four were charged with ‘negligence and causing death to hundreds and injuries to thousands more’ in the first such official indictment against a sitting prime minister in Lebanese history, the judicial source said.

After the blast, it emerged that top security officials and politicians had known for years about the hundreds of tonnes of ammonium nitrate fertiliser stored haphazardly at the Beirut port but had failed to take precautionary measures.

Thursday’s decision by judge Fadi Sawan came after an investigation confirmed the suspects had received ‘several written notices warning them against postponing the disposal of ammonium nitrate fertiliser,’ the source said.

‘They also did not take the necessary measures to avoid the devastating explosion and its enormous damage,’ added the source, who spoke to AFP news agency on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to comment on the issue.

Diab’s office said the outgoing premier’s conscience was clear.


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