Lebanon Prime Minister charged with negligence over Beirut explosion

Article by Amanda Doyle

Hussein Malla/AP/Shutterstock

AN investigating prosecutor has charged Lebanon’s acting Prime Minister Hassan Diab and three former ministers with negligence in connection with the ammonium nitrate explosion in Beirut that killed around 200 people.

Diab and the three former ministers – Ali Hassan Khalil, Ghazi Zaiter, and Youssef Fenianos – were charged by prosecutor Fadi Sawan for negligence in relation to the explosion that occurred on 4 August. Diab had allegedly been warned about the stockpile a few weeks prior to the explosion, according to documents seen by The New York Times. Diab was Prime Minister at the time of the explosion. He resigned a few days afterwards, along with his cabinet, but he remains in a caretaker role.

The 2,750 t of ammonium nitrate had been stored at the port since 2013 and the bags were reported to be torn and piled on top of each other. The explosion killed around 200 people, as well as injuring 6,000 and leaving 300,000 people homeless.

Diab has accused Sawan of violating the constitution and bypassing the parliament, according to state-run National News Agency (NNA). NNA also reported that Sawan will be listening to the testimonies of the former ministers this week.

Article by Amanda Doyle

Staff Reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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