Lebanese judge charges 68 over deadly clashes south Beirut

BEIRUT — A Lebanese judge has charged 68 people in this month’s deadly clashes in Beirut that left seven people dead and dozens wounded, the state news agency reported Monday.

The clashes in south Beirut on Oct. 14 was the worst fighting in the capital in years and broke out during a Hezbollah-organized protest against the judge leading the investigation into last year’s massive Beirut port blast.

The National News Agency said Judge Fadi Akiki, a government representative at the military court, charged the 68 people with crimes including murder, attempted murder, inciting sectarian strife, having unlicensed weapons and sabotage.

The battle went on for five hours between supporters of Lebanon’s two powerful Shiite factions, Hezbollah and Amal, and gunmen believed to be supporters of the Christian Lebanese Forces party. The battle took place along the frontline between Beirut’s Chiyah neighborhood and Ain el-Rumaneh neighborhood, which was also the border that divided the capital into two warring parts during Lebanon’s civil war.

Also on Monday, Lebanon’s military intelligence agency summoned the head of the Lebanese Forces, Samir Geagea, to give testimony regarding the deadly clashes. On Wednesday, he was summoned to testify before the military investigators.

Geagea has said that he refuses to be questioned by Akiki unless the judge first questions Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah. His appearance before investigators was not immediately known.

The NNA said 18 people are in detention while the remaining 50 remain at large. It did not give a breakdown showing to which groups the 68 belong.

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