Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Judge Close to Lebanese President 'Rebels' Against General Prosecutor

Judge Close to Lebanese President 'Rebels' Against General Prosecutor

Sunday, 18 April, 2021 - 06:30
Judge Ghada Aoun.

Caretaker Lebanese Justice Minister Marie Claude Najm tasked the Judicial Inspection Authority to carry out an assessment of judges in wake of Mount Lebanon state prosecutor Ghada Aoun's rejection of her dismissal by the the discriminatory Public Prosecutor, Judge Ghassan Oweidat.

Oweidat had dismissed her from investigating alleged financial crimes committed by a money exchange service.

The case has sparked widespread debate, significantly since Aoun is close to President Michel Aoun.

Najm stressed after Saturday's meeting that she would not take a position with or against any political party, saying she was exercising her legal duties.

She remarked that the people believe that the judiciary is divided and affiliated with political powers. This in turn is dividing the people.

She added that she had tasked the Judicial Inspection Authority two weeks ago to carry out an assessment of judges, urging it to go ahead with the case because the situation was no longer tolerable.

Oweidat had on Friday ordered that the money exchange service case be restricted to three general prosecutors. Judge Aoun would consequently be excluded from the case.

She, however, remained defiant. Hours after his order, she personally showed up at the exchange service , along with state security members, to raid the office.

Amid the raid, supporters of President Aoun's Free Patriotic Movement gathered outside the office in a show of support.

The owner of the exchange service called on the army and Internal Security Forces to intervene because "a judge, along with partisan supporters, were vandalizing private property."

Former General Prosecutor Judge Hatem Madi told Asharq Al-Awsat that he was not opposed to the involvement of the Judicial Inspection Authority, noting however, that it was not part of its jurisdiction to determine whether the general prosecutor was right to dismissing a state prosecutor from a case.

The entire affair has sparked heated debate in the country.

FPM lawyers condemned the affair as an attempt to tarnish Judge Aoun's image, saying the entire issue was politically motivated.

They defended the judge for "daring to tackle corruption cases and cracking down on corrupt figures."

The Mustaqbal Movement said the affair was "very dangerous and marked a precedent not witnessed during the civil war or even during Syria's hegemony over Lebanon."

It accused Judge Aoun of being selective in opening corruption cases, saying she chooses to prosecute opponents while turning a blind eye to other violations.

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