Lebanon to send team to Paris after ambassador accused of rape, violence


Lebanon's foreign ministry has said it would send an investigation team to Paris following reports that Beirut's ambassador to France, Rami Adwan, has been accused of rape and intentional violence.

The French probe into Adwan followed complaints by two former embassy employees, sources close to the investigation had told AFP, confirming an earlier media report.

The French government has urged the Lebanese authorities to lift Adwan's diplomatic immunity and allow him to go on trial.

The Lebanese foreign ministry has decided to "urgently send an investigation committee headed by the ministry's secretary-general... to the embassy in Paris to question the concerned ambassador and hear statements from embassy staff," it said in a statement.

The committee will meet with French authorities "to clarify that which was reported in the media and which was not communicated to the Lebanese foreign ministry via diplomatic channels," the statement added.

The first former employee, aged 31, filed her complaint in June 2022 for a rape she says was committed in May 2020 in the ambassador's private apartment, according to sources close to the investigation confirming a Mediapart report.

According to the complaint, she had a relationship with the ambassador, who carried out "psychological and physical violence with daily humiliations."

The second woman, aged 28, made a complaint last February after what she said was a series of physical attacks after she turned down sexual relations.

She claims Adwan tried to hit her with his car after an argument on the sidelines of last year's Normandy World Peace Forum.

"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," the French foreign ministry told AFP late Friday.

Adwan's lawyer Karim Beylouni has said that his client "contests all accusations of aggression in any shape or form: verbal, moral, sexual."

He said Adwan had had "romantic relationships" with the two women between 2018 and 2022 that were "punctuated by arguments and breakups."

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