Lebanese ambassador in France accused of rape, violence

Lebanese ambassador in France accused of rape, violence
Two former female embassy employees accused Mr Adwan of rape, psychological and physical violence. The French government urged the Lebanese authorities to lift his diplomatic immunity to allow him to go on trial.
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Rami Adwan is accused of raping and causing psychological and physical harm to the formal employees. (Photo by Eric Fougere/Corbis via Getty Images)

Lebanon's ambassador to France, Rami Adwan, has been investigated for rape and intentional violence following complaints by two former embassy employees, informed sources said Friday confirming an earlier media report.

Due to his position, Adwan enjoys diplomatic immunity from prosecution, but the French government urged the Lebanese authorities to lift this and allow him to go on trial.

"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.

The first woman, 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 her deposition seen by AFP, she made clear her lack of interest in having sex and that she screamed and burst into tears.

The woman, who was working as an editor, had already reported to police in 2020 that Adwan, in his post since 2017, had struck her during an argument in his office.

She said she had not filed a complaint because she did not want to "break the life" of the ambassador.

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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.

She also accused the ambassador of trying to suffocate her at her home last December by pressing her face to her bed.

"My client contests all accusations of aggression in any shape or form: verbal, moral, sexual," Adwan's lawyer Karim Beylouni told AFP.

"Between 2018 and 2022 he had with these two women romantic relationships punctuated by arguments and breakups," Beylouni said.

An informed source said the Paris judicial police had closed the case.

Asked by AFP to comment, the Paris prosecutor's office said it was not immediately in a position to do so.