In Lebanon, the battle for justice for the victims of the Beirut port explosion

In Beirut, December 4.  A woman carries the portrait of her son, who died in the explosion in the port of Beirut on August 4.

Tania Daou Alam wears black. She was widowed on August 4, during the double explosion in the port of Beirut, the memory of which haunts many Lebanese. Her husband, Jean-Frédéric, was killed instantly, when the bay window of the doctor’s office where they were both was sprayed. Tania was injured; she has a scar on her forehead. “Freddy’s violent death is incomprehensible. We were fusional. Life had in store for him trials; he had chosen to have the joy of living ”, explains this mother of two sons aged 15 and 18.

Mohamed Tarchichi felt the first explosion, “Like an earthquake” ; everything became unreal during the gigantic second wind. Suffering from several fractures in his right leg, he will never walk again as before; the young man is moving with crutches. “When I put my foot down, the pain is immense. My life changed with the explosion: I lost my car, the apartment we lived in, my job – all that I can accept, but not having been touched in my body. “ Tears are falling.

Read also Explosion at the port of Beirut: a judge demands to open an investigation into three Lebanese ministers

To their pain and their quest for truth, to that of the other families of victims (more than 200 dead) and to the thousands of injured, various officials and political parties have presented a staggering spectacle in recent days. Attacks against the current investigation and refusal to appear follow one another. Thursday, December 10, Judge Fadi Sawan, in charge of the investigation, indicted the resigning Prime Minister, Hassan Diab, as well as three former ministers. On Monday, Mr. Diab declined to be questioned. Two of the other defendants, Ali Hassan Khalil and Ghazi Zeaïter, members of the Amal movement, led by the President of Parliament, Nabih Berri, deputies and former ministers, were in turn to evade their summons on Wednesday.


Although they are poles apart on the political spectrum, both Saad Hariri, prime minister designate, and the powerful Hezbollah party have participated in the outcry. Mr. Hariri, who had snubbed Hassan Diab, this time rushed to his rescue, playing the confessional card, in the name of “The attack” carried to the office of Prime Minister, a post devolved to the Sunni community. As for Hezbollah, it denounced a “Political targeting” against Mr. Diab and the other accused.

Other voices have since increased: those of former prime ministers or of Walid Joumblatt, a veteran of politics. The latter accuse the president, Michel Aoun, of instrumentalizing justice – his demented camp – and denounce the fact that he is not himself worried. Like Hassan Diab, Mr. Aoun had been informed of the dangerous presence in the port of the stock of ammonium nitrate, involved in the double explosion.

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