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UPDATE 1-Some officers noticed danger of Beirut blast, didn’t act – HRW report

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(Provides remark from head of state safety)

BEIRUT, Aug 3 (Reuters) – A report launched by Human Rights Watch on Tuesday concluded there was robust proof to recommend some Lebanese officers knew about and tacitly accepted the deadly dangers posed by ammonium nitrate saved at Beirut port earlier than the deadly blast there on Aug. 4 final 12 months.

HRW referred to as for a U.N. investigation into the explosion, which was attributable to the chemical substances saved unsafely on the port for years and killed greater than 200 individuals, injured 1000’s and destroyed swathes of Lebanon’s capital.

The report by the worldwide rights watchdog contained over 700 pages of findings and paperwork. Its investigation additionally concluded there was proof that a number of Lebanese authorities have been criminally negligent beneath Lebanese legislation.

HRW stated President Michel Aoun, caretaker prime minister Hassan Diab, director common of state safety Tony Saliba and different former ministers wished for questioning by decide Bitar, had didn’t take motion to guard most people regardless of having been knowledgeable of the dangers.

Reuters sought touch upon the report’s findings from Aoun, Diab and Saliba.

The presidential palace supplied no remark. Saliba stated his company did all it may inside its authorized remit, submitting authorized studies to warn officers, and had an workplace open on the port solely months earlier than the blast. There was no fast response from Diab.

Aoun stated on Friday he was able to testify and that nobody was above the legislation. HRW primarily based its report on official paperwork it reviewed and on a number of interviews with prime officers together with the president, the caretaker prime minister and the pinnacle of the nation’s state safety.

The investigation trailed occasions from 2014 onwards after the cargo was delivered to Beirut port and tracked repeated warnings of hazard to numerous official our bodies.

“Proof strongly means that some authorities officers foresaw the dying that the ammonium nitrate’s presence within the port may lead to and tacitly accepted the chance of the deaths occurring,” the report stated.

It referred to as on the United Nations Human Rights Council to mandate an investigation into the blast and on international governments to impose human rights and corruption sanctions on officers.

A Lebanese investigation into the blast, led by Decide Tarek Bitar, has stalled. Politicians and senior safety officers are but to be questioned and requests to elevate their immunity have been hindered.

A doc seen by Reuters that was despatched simply over two weeks earlier than the blast confirmed the president and prime minister have been warned concerning the safety danger posed by the chemical substances saved on the port and that they may destroy the capital. (Writing By Maha El Dahan, Enhancing by Timothy Heritage)

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