He has decided to oppose the entire political class and unravel the tangle of murder explosion noted in its port Beirut in 2022. Judge Tarek Bitar breaks all the red lines in Lebanon and impresses with his courage.
The 48-year-old judge was forced, under suffocating political pressure, to stop his investigation for more than a year the tragedy that transformed Beirut killing more than 215 people.
But he decided to repeat it himself yesterday and yes charges today, Tuesday (24/1) against personalities of the political and judicial world and the security apparatus of Lebanon, among them the general prosecutor, an unprecedented event in the country.
The prosecution rejected all the decisions.
With a reputation as an incorruptible judge, Tarek Bitar is for many the symbol of an independent judiciary, one of Lebanon’s last crumbling pillars.
“He is courageous, even brazen, to the point where he is confronting the entire authority that has been obstructing the investigation for two and a half years,” said Cecile Rukoz, one of the lawyers for the families of the victims of the explosion, of which she herself has lost her brother.
Because this calm and discreet judge has secured the unshakable confidence of the families of the victims of the drama caused by the storage of huge quantities of ammonium nitrate without security measures in the port of Beirut.
But it annoys a large section of Lebanon’s political class who took care to cause his investigation to be halted in December 2021.
“He knows he’s under threat, but he’s not afraid. He wants to get to the end because his conscience binds him. It belongs to the judges who do not submit to political power,” says Cecile Roukoz, as reported by the Athens News Agency.
The all-powerful pro-Iranian organization Hezbollah has turned against Judge Bitar, which has been demanding his replacement for more than a year, accusing him of “seeking to politicize the investigation.”
In October 2021, a demonstration organized by Hezbollah and its ally, the Amal movement, to demand the removal of Bitar turned into a tragedy: shots fired near the Courthouse killed seven people and brought back memories of the civil war in Lebanon.
He faces more and more threats and takes protective measures during his travels
In a country where factionalism takes precedence, the judge does not belong to a particular political camp, while many judges belong to the major parties that represent their religious community.
According to a img close to him, he is a “very calm” man, but determined. “He repeats that he will not admit defeat despite the pressure and that he will not give up on the investigation,” it says.
According to people around him, Judge Bitar is facing more and more threats and is taking protective measures during his travels.
Even in the opinion of his critics, Judge Bitar has built a reputation as an “integrity and incorruptible” judge.
Self-confident, even arrogant, according to some, he avoids public appearances and does not speak to the press.
“When he was assigned to the investigation, they had a hard time finding a picture of him,” said a person close to him.
Simple and unsmiling, he refuses all invitations and avoids social events for fear of being accused of indolence.
Born in 1974 in the village of Aidamoun in northern Lebanon, he is married to a pharmacist and has two children.
He holds a law degree from the University of Lebanon and began his career in northern Lebanon declaring himself an independent judge. He was the president of the Criminal Court of Beirut.
Source: News Beast
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