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Lebanon: Aoun Urges Calm after Judicial Dispute

Lebanon: Aoun Urges Calm after Judicial Dispute

Thursday, 22 April, 2021 - 14:45
Lebanese President Michel Aoun. Reuters file photo

Lebanese President Michel Aoun warned against the destruction of property on Thursday after the removal of a judge from a financial corruption probe last week prompted her and her supporters to storm a currency exchange bureau.


Aoun made the remarks in a statement after a security meeting that included caretaker prime minister Hassan Diab, the interior minister and other officials.


On Wednesday, judge Ghada Aoun and others had stormed the offices of a foreign exchange dealer in Awkar in defiance of her removal from the investigation, with some of them breaking down doors.


It was the second such attempt to enter the bureau by judge Aoun, who is not directly related to the president and whose supporters appeared largely to back President Aoun's Free Patriotic Movement.


Judge Aoun, chief prosecutor of the Mount Lebanon region, took folders and computers out of the building with her, the state news agency (NNA) reported. Security forces deployed to the scene, Reuters said.


Aoun, who had also sought to question central bank chief Riad Salameh, has objected to her removal from financial crimes cases last week by Lebanese public prosecutor Ghassan Oueidat.


The row has spilled out into the streets and all over local media, with critics saying it laid bare the political grip on the judiciary in a country battered by a financial crisis rooted in graft and debt. The collapse has sunk the currency, paralyzed banks and trapped savers out of their deposits.


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