Lebanese politicians charged with negligence over Beirut port blast

The lead investigator into the devastating explosion in Beirut, Lebanon, on August 4th has charged outgoing prime minister Hassan Diab and three ex-ministers with negligence.

The quartet were charged with “negligence and causing death to hundreds and injuries to thousands more”. It is the first such official indictment against a prime minister in office in Lebanese history.

The port authorities, top security officials, courts and politicians all appeared to have known for years about the hundreds of tonnes of ammonium nitrate fertilizer that was stored at the port.

When the ammonium nitrate exploded with a force that made it one of the largest man-made non-nuclear explosions in history, more than 200 people were killed, the port are was destroyed, thousands were injured and property damage in Beirut exceeded $1bn in value.

The explosion was so great that it left a crater 43 metres deep where the warehouse used to be.