Fattoush Says Frenzy About Daou Takes Aim at his Political Stancesإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Zahle MP Nicolas Fattoush denied on Thursday that he assaulted a female Justice Palace office worker earlier this week, saying the accusations against him were aimed at targeting his patriotic stances.
“I raised my voice at her but I did not hit her,” Fattoush said during a press conference he held to brief the public opinion about his dispute with Manal Daou, an officer who processes complaints at the Baabda Justice Palace.
Fattoush claimed that he had a “simple argument” with Daou and that the media frenzy about it was directed at his “political stances, which seek to salvage” the country, mainly his submission of a draft-law on the extension of parliament's term.
Fattoush submitted in August the draft-law calling for an extension of two years and seven months.
“God forgive her,” he said about Daou.
The alleged assault has stirred a storm on social networking websites. Activists and citizens have vented their anger at Fattoush and expressed solidarity with Daou.
In his press conference, the lawmaker also slammed Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi for meeting with the woman on Tuesday.
Rifi snapped back later on Thursday, telling Fattoush that his "problem" is not with the justice minister, "but rather with the Lebanese public opinion, which has unanimously condemned what you did."
"The case has to do with a long history of disgraceful behavior, which the public opinion knows very well," the justice minister said.
Daou had recounted to Rifi what happened during the dispute, which according to several media reports ended after Fattoush “punched” her on the shoulder before he was stopped by other employees at the Justice Palace.
According to Daou, she directed Fattoush to where lawyers can submit their complaints and to where citizens can do so.
At that point, the MP placed a paper on her desk, she said.
“I was putting another complaint aside in order to take his complaint” when Fattoush said: “You are a woman who lacks morals.”
She said she was surprised and asked who he was. At that moment, his bodyguard interfered.
But Fattoush claimed on Thursday that there was no line for him to wait for his turn and that she told him she had “business to do” when the MP inquired her why he should wait for his turn as a lawyer and former minister.
“I challenge any person to come forward to claim that I have done any violation during my career as a minister and lawmaker,” he said.
Fattoush's press conference came hours after public administration employees held protests across Lebanon, including at the Baabda Justice Palace.
Daou attended the sit-in and thanked her colleagues for their compassion.
She confirmed that she filed a lawsuit against Fattoush, saying: “Let justice take its course.”