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Beirut before the explosion.
24 Jan 2023

Several Lebanese officials allegedly named to be sued for the 2020 ammonium nitrate explosion in Beirut

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On July 4th, 2020, more than 200 people were killed and thousands were injured  when thousands of tons of ammonium nitrate being stored at a port warehouse ignited. Several high officials are now soon to stand trial. 

The explosion of ammonium nitrate in Beirut on July 4, 2020,  was one of the largest non nuclear explosions to have ever occurred. The explosion devastated a large area of the Lebanese capital. The explosion destroyed 77,000 apartments, wounded 7,000 people, displaced over 300,000 more and least at least 80,000 children homeless. It also created 15 Billion USD worth of material damage. 

According to Wikipedia, a 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate  (equivalent to around 1.1 kilotons of TNT) had been stored in a warehouse without proper safety measures for the previous six years after having been confiscated by the Lebanese authorities from the abandoned ship MV Rhosus. The explosion was preceded by a fire in the same warehouse.

According to an August 4 article on OHCHR.org, UN experts called on the Human Rights Council to launch an international investigation into the massive explosion in Beirut two years ago. 

“This tragedy marked one of the largest non-nuclear blasts in recent memory, yet the world has done nothing to find out why it happened," the experts said. "On the second anniversary of the blast, we are disheartened that people in Lebanon still await justice, and we call for an international investigation to be initiated without delay."

 

Lawsuits

According to a BBC article on January 24th, lawsuits against several high officials are being prepared to go to trial. 

The identities of those who have been charged have not been revealed, nor any details of what indictments they may face.

The lists of names and potential dates for questioning sessions are being circulated among local journalists, allegedly  released by judicial sources. Senior executives like the heads of the General Security and State Security departments are recent names to appear on the list.

Hassan Diab, who was prime minister at the time of the blast, has yet to appear before the judge to answer questions.

According to the BB, all who have previously been linked to the investigation have denied any involvement.

 

The explosion occurred behind the grain silos in this view. By Yoniw at English Wikipedia - Own work by the original uploader, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42558010