French authorities will on Monday ask Lebanon to lift the immunity of Beirut’s ambassador to Paris after an investigation was opened into alleged rape and intentional violence by the envoy, a source said.
“Steps in this direction will be taken during the day,” a French diplomatic source, who asked not to be named, told AFP.
The ambassador, Rami Adwan, is being investigated in France following complaints by two former embassy employees. He has diplomatic immunity but could face trial if Lebanon agrees to France’s request.
Lebanon’s foreign ministry said Saturday that it would send an investigation team to the embassy in Paris to question the ambassador and hear statements from embassy staff.
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 report by the Mediapart news site.
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 says 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 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.”