Lebanon’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants on Thursday recalled its ambassador to France, Rami Adwan, following the opening of an official investigation into the diplomat over accusations of sexual assault and violence.
“Following up on the circumstances surrounding the case of the Lebanese ambassador … it was decided to summon ambassador Rami Adwan to the central administration,” the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry added that it would replace Mr Adwan with Ziad Taan, who has been given the role of chargé d'affaires of the diplomatic mission.
France opened an investigation into Mr Adwan after two former embassy employees lodged complaints against him.
French investigative newspaper Mediapart reported that the complaints against Mr Adwan include graphic details of alleged instances of sexual assault and violence against the former employees.
One of the employees, 31, who filed a complaint in June of last year, said Mr Adwan sexually assaulted her in May 2020 in his private apartment.
She also told police he had struck her on the head with a marble paperweight, resulting in several injuries that were documented in hospital reports.
The complaint states the plaintiff had a relationship with the ambassador, who employed “psychological and physical violence with daily humiliations” throughout their time together.
A second woman, 28, said the ambassador attacked her after she rejected his advances. She said he had dragged her on the ground by her hair and attempted to suffocate her on a mattress.
Mr Adwan also tried to hit her with his car after an argument at the Normandy World Peace Forum, the complaint states.
The French government last week demanded that Lebanese authorities lift Mr Adwan's diplomatic immunity “in order to facilitate the work of the French judicial authorities”, according to a French foreign ministry statement.
The ambassador's lawyer, Karim Beylouni, has denied the claims made in the complaints, saying that his client “contests all accusations of aggression in any shape or form: verbal, moral, sexual”.