BEIRUT — France on Friday asked Lebanon to lift the diplomatic immunity of its ambassador to France, Rami Adwan, who is under investigation for rape and intentional violence.
Two former embassy employees recently issued complaints against Adwan, according to sources close to the investigation cited by AFP.
"In view of the seriousness of the facts mentioned, we consider it necessary for the Lebanese authorities to lift the immunity of the Lebanese ambassador in Paris, in order to facilitate the work of the French justice system," the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs told AFP on Friday evening.
In a statement published on Saturday afternoon, Lebanon's Foreign ministry announced that it will send a committee "headed by the ministry secretary general and its director of inspection, to the embassy in Paris to investigate the ambassador and listen to the testimonies of the employees of the embassy and its administrative workers."
The Foreign Ministry also said it will ask French authorities to "clarify what has been reported in the media" because the ministry did not receive any official information regarding the investigation through diplomatic channels.
The Foreign Ministry said it will "legally act accordingly in a way that guarantees public interest" and that it is "keen to act responsibly with the case presented in a way that protects the reputation and the position of the [Lebanese] state."
The first woman, age 31, filed a complaint in June 2022. In her complaint, she alleges that Ambassador Adwan raped her in his private apartment in May 2020. In her complaint, reviewed by AFP, she states that she refused sex, screamed and cried.
The young woman previously told police in 2020 that Adwan had hit her during an argument in his office, but she didn't press charges so as "not to shatter the life of this man." She said Adwan subjected her to "psychological and physical violence, with daily humiliations."
Adwan has served as Lebanon's ambassador to France since 2017.
The second woman, age 28, who had also formed an intimate relationship with the diplomat, filed a February complaint claiming a series of physical assaults after she refused sexual intercourse.
In particular, she claims Adwan tried to hit her with his car during an argument on the sidelines of the Peace Forum in Caen, western France, in September. She also accuses the ambassador of trying to asphyxiate her at home by pushing her face into the bed.
"My client denies all accusations of assault in any form: verbal, moral, sexual," Rami Adwan's lawyer, Karim Beylouni, told AFP. "Between 2018 and 2022, he had romantic relationships with these two women, with arguments and break-ups."
Contacted by L'Orient-Le Jour on Friday, Beylouni said his client had "largely explained himself on these allegations and contests these accusations of rape and beating."
Adwan has "explained the nature of the relationship, which was at times tumultuous and fraught with scenes and arguments. He is willing to explain himself if necessary," Beylouni added.
BEIRUT — France on Friday asked Lebanon to lift the diplomatic immunity of its ambassador to France, Rami Adwan, who is under investigation for rape and intentional violence. Two former embassy employees recently issued complaints against Adwan, according to sources close to the investigation cited by AFP."In view of the seriousness of the facts mentioned, we consider it necessary for the...