Lebanon's ambassador to France recalled over rape allegations
While an investigation is currently underway, Lebanon's envoy to France has rejected all allegations.
Rami Adwan, Lebanon's envoy to France, has been recalled by the Lebanese foreign ministry amid allegations that the diplomat is suspected of carrying out acts of rape and intentional violence against two former embassy employees.
While an investigation is currently underway, Adwan has rejected all the allegations. His lawyer, Karim Beylouni, said that his client "contests all accusations of aggression in any shape or form: verbal, moral, sexual".
Furthermore, recalling the diplomat would shield him from legal consequences on the part of French authorities as Lebanon does not extradite its nationals. "Following the circumstances surrounding the case of the Lebanese ambassador to France... it has been decided to recall ambassador Rami Adwan," the foreign ministry said in a statement.
Earlier this week, Lebanon sent an investigative delegation to the embassy in Paris to question Adwan and hear statements from staffers.
The decision to recall Adwan from his duties came "in light of" the dispatch of the investigative team to France, Lebanon's foreign ministry stated in today's statement, noting that a charge d'affaires was appointed on Wednesday.
The first former embassy staffer is a 31-year-old woman who filed a complaint in June 2022 for a rape committed in May 2020.
Sources close to the investigation told AFP that the incident allegedly took place at the envoy's private apartment, noting that the person in question had a relationship with Adwan who carried out "psychological and physical violence with daily humiliations".
The second woman is 28 years of age and filed a complaint in February this year. According to the testimony, Adwan reportedly engaged in a series of physical attacks on the woman for turning down sexual relations.
She also claimed that the diplomat attempted to hit her with his car following a quarrel on the sidelines of last year's Normandy World Peace Forum, adding that Adwan had attempted to suffocate her at her residence in December 2022 by pressing her face to her bed.
Adwan's lawyer said that his client entertained "romantic relationships" with the two women between 2018 and 2022 that were "punctuated by arguments and breakups".
A French diplomatic source on Monday told AFP that French authorities will ask Lebanon to strip off the envoy's immunity.
France's foreign ministry had previously told AFP that "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 judicial authorities".