Lebanon prosecutor pauses port probe amid legal challenges

BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon’s prosecutor investigating last summer’s horrific explosion at the Beirut port has paused the probe for 10 days, following legal challenges to his authority by the same senior officials he accused of negligence that led to the blast, the country’s official news agency said on Thursday.

The development, reported by Lebanon’s National News Agency, comes after a stormy week that cast doubt on the fate of the investigation into the August 4 blast that killed over 200 people and destroyed parts of Beirut.

The legal battle has muddled the probe into what was one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history. Many critics have seen it as an attempt by the political elite to prevent setting a precedent that might bring accountability to the highest level.

According to the report, Judge Fadi Sawwan’s decision to pause the probe will allow him to respond to accusations that he violated legal and constitutional procedures by summoning for questioning Lebanon’s caretaker prime minister and three former ministers on suspicion of negligence that led to the deadly explosion.