William Noun released after tumultuous 48 hours

Lebanon’s State Security on Saturday afternoon released on house arrest bond William Noun, the spokesman for the families of the Beirut port blast victims. This comes after Zaher Hamadeh, the public prosecutor at the Court of Appeal in Beirut requested his release according to the state-run National News Agency.

Upon his release, he said that his arrested “was at the signal of the judiciary and my handling [by State Security] was respectful.”

William Noun still needs to return on Monday. His lawyer said, “what happened revived this case.”

William Noun’s mother thanked the people who stood by her son “from deputies, lawyers, clerics, and citizens since yesterday under the rain.” She stressed that “we will continue until we get our Children’s rights.

It comes as William Noun’s family house was raided by authorities on Friday prompting his arrest, according to media reports Noun is accused of threatening to “blow up the Justice Palace with dynamite” during a protest.

Following his arrest, relatives of the port blast victims staged a sit-in outside the State Security department located in Beirut where Noun was said to be held. Protests also turned violent with fighting emerging with security forces as protesters blocked a road as well as several highways in Beirut. MPs Melhem Khalaf, Razi al-Hajj and Jihad Pakradouni also joined the sit-in protests along with a number of lawyers before entering the dept. to follow up on the case.

William Noun’s brother Joe Noun was a firefighter who was killed while extinguishing the massive fire that led to the Beirut port blast in August 2020 when over 2,500 tons of ammonium nitrate exploded. Noun also lost his cousin and uncle who were in another fire truck that had been dispatched to the port blast. Noun subsequently became the spokesperson for the families of the Beirut port blast victims and has been vocal in condemning Lebanon’s judges for being too weak. Noun has also demanded that the investigation into the port blast be internationalised as the only way for the victims to get justice.

Lebanon’s investigation into the port explosion case has been blocked for several months by Lebanon’s political groups. The case, which seeks to uncover responsibility for the blast that killed 244 people has been a point of contention in Lebanon with many blaming government corruption. As a result, protests have been escalating on a daily basis in Lebanon as families and victims seek justice and are not willing to accept any further delays in the investigation.


Image Credit: AP News