Lebanon Daily News Brief 02/15/2022
BDL Governor Raided, Security Forces Unable To Locate Him
After Judge Ghada Aoun issued a subpoena for Lebanon’s Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh on February 1st, following his failure to attend three hearings as a witness of investigations probing his alleged misconduct, Lebanese security forces raided Salameh’s residences in Rabieh and Safra as well as his office at the Central Bank, but to no avail. Judge Aoun asserted that the subpoena would be extended indefinitely until he abides by it and appears in court. [Reuters] Denying accusations of interference in the enforcement of this warrant, the Directorate General of Internal Security Forces said that it, “did not prevent a State Security patrol from enforcing a subpoena against the governor of the central bank.” [Naharnet]
Mikati Reassures Elections To Be Properly Funded And Held On Time, Megacenters To Be Discussed In Cabinet
In an interview with Al-Akhbar newspaper, Prime Minister Najib Mikati reassured that Lebanon’s upcoming parliamentary elections would be held on time, clarifying that the funds for the elections are nearly secured. Though he indicated that he would likely not be running in the upcoming elections as a candidate himself, he added that, “my bloc and I will will participate and we definitely won’t boycott.” [Naharnet] Additionally, Mikati -at the request of President Michel Aoun- tasked the Minister of Interior and Municipalities Bassam Mawlawi with studying the subject of megacenters, potentially to be incorporated in the voting operations of the upcoming elections as well as in future polls. [MTV]
Al Hariri Family Marks 17th Anniversary of Rafik Al Hariri’s Assassination, Bahaa Outlines 30 Candidates Backed By Sawa Li Lubnan
Saad Al Hariri -a former Prime Minister and son of Rafik Al Hariri, who served as Prime Minister from 1992-1998 as well as from 2000-2004, before his assassination on February 14th, 2005- commemorated the 17th anniversary of his father’s death in Beirut. [Naharnet] Meanwhile, Bahaa -brother to Saad and the eldest son of the late Rafik- outlined the political program of Sawa Li Lubnan in an interview with Sawt Beirut on the eve of the anniversary. According to L’Orient Today, Bahaa, “announced that his party Sawa li Lubnan will put forward around 30 candidates in legislative elections scheduled for May 15. However, regarding his own candidacy, the businessman, who has been living outside Lebanon for 17 years, remained evasive, remarking that it was not a priority issue for the moment.” [L’Orient Today]
Court of Cassation Dismisses Recusal Request of Bitar’s Investigation
On Tuesday, a recusal request that has been suspending the investigation into the Beirut Port Explosion -overseen by Judge Tarik Bitar- was dismissed by Judge Rola Masri of the Lebanese Court of Cassation. The recusal request was filed by MP’s Ali Hassan Khalil and Ghazi Zoaiter, the former of whom was the subject of an arrest warrant issued by Bitar in December over the August 4th Port Explosion. [Naharnet] According to L’Orient Today, “Masri’s ruling allows Eid and Ghantous to decide on the lawsuit filed against Bitar after their work had been suspended since the complaint was filed on Jan. 3 and they were notified on Jan. 25. A judicial source told L’Orient Today that the pair would resume examining the complaint against Bitar on Thursday. The cause for the complaint against Eid and Ghantous was reported as a prior rejection of a suit to dismiss Bitar.” [L’Orient Today]
OPINION & ANALYSIS
For Whom The Bell Tolls?
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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the American Task Force on Lebanon, a non-profit, nonpartisan leadership organization of Lebanese-Americans.