After a months-long suspension, the lead investigator of the Beirut port blast has charged key figures with negligence, as the country seeks accountability for the devastating explosion that killed and injured thousands.
Judge Fadi Sawan, who is leading the investigation into the massive August 4 blast, charged six people on Thursday, including the head of the customs authority and five of his associates.
The charges are related to the mismanagement of the 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, which were stored unsafely at the port before the blast.
The charges come after a months-long suspension of the investigation due to government interference, which saw Sawan being removed from the case. The suspension sparked protests and demonstrations in Beirut, with many demanding justice for the victims of the blast.
Sawan returned to the case in November, and his determination to hold those responsible to account has been welcomed by the Lebanese public.
The six people charged on Thursday are accused of negligence and failing to prevent the blast. If found guilty, they could face up to three years in prison.
The investigation is ongoing, and more charges are expected to be filed in the coming days. It is unclear whether more senior officials will be charged in the case.
The investigation and subsequent charges are seen as a crucial step towards achieving justice for the victims of the Beirut port blast. The Lebanese public has long been demanding accountability for the tragedy, and these charges are a sign that their voices are being heard.