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Senior Lebanese officials knew about Beirut blast risks, took no action: HRW report

CA, 04 Aug 2021
A report released by Human Rights Watch on Tuesday concluded there was strong evidence to suggest some Lebanese officials knew about -and tacitly accepted- the lethal risks posed by ammonium nitrate stored at Beirut port before the fatal blast there on Aug. 4 last year.

HRW called for a United Nations investigation into the explosion, which was caused by the chemicals stored unsafely at the port for years and killed more than 200 people, injured thousands and destroyed swathes of Lebanon's capital.

The report by the international rights watchdog contained over 700 pages of findings and documents. Its investigation also concluded there was evidence that multiple Lebanese authorities were criminally negligent under Lebanese law.

On the eve of the anniversary of the explosion, Lebanon's President Michel Aoun said on Tuesday he was fully supportive of an impartial investigation on last summer's Beirut port blast.

In a televised speech, Aoun also said he was for a strong judiciary that would not back down when questioning any officials, no matter how high they ranked.

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