(Photo credit: Friends of Ibrahim Sakr Facebook page)
Ibrahim Sakr, the Lebanese Forces official who had an arrest warrant issued for hoarding millions of liters of fuel, has evaded prosecution from Lebanon’s judiciary just as he was welcomed in his hometown of Hawsh al-Omara on 9 October.
A statement on the Friends of Ibrahim Sakr Facebook page announced that “hundreds of companions, family members and loved ones gathered today to welcome Mr. Ibrahim Sakr back to his house in Hawsh al-Omara, Zahle, after 45 days of injustice and persecution.”
He was welcomed by members of the right-wing Lebanese Forces party, among them current representative Cesar Maalouf, former deputy Tony Bou Khater, head of the local Lebanese forces branch in the town, Michel Saadeh, as well as the party’s leaders from other towns, Tony Hanna, Rabiah bou Tannous, and Bashara al-Ghassin.
Last week, the Lebanese army seized over 20 tons of ammonium nitrate in a warehouse belonging to Ibrahim Sakr’s brother, Maroun.
Ammonium nitrate is the substance that last year caused the catastrophic blast at the Port of Beirut, which decimated large swathes of the city and left over 200 dead.
Since then, the investigations into who was behind the negligent decision to store the explosives in the middle of the city has been continuously derailed, as officials have more than once alleged that prosecutors have a “biased” agenda.
Questions also remain about whether the ammonium nitrate stored in the Port of Beirut was connected to the Sakr’s brothers illicit business.
In August, the Information Division of the Lebanese Internal Security Forces uncovered a two million litre stockpile of hoarded gas belonging to him in Zahle.
Appeals Public Prosecutor in the Bekaa, Judge Munif Barakat, charged the Sakr brothers with money laundering and monopolizing fuel.
Maroun was arrested while Ibrahim Sakr remained hidden.
Sakr went into hiding for 45 days to avoid capture, reappearing when the court order for his arrest expired.
The Lebanese search-and-investigation order that had mandated the investigation and trial into Sakr expires after one month of issue.