Supported by Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) protesters, Judge Ghada Aoun took the decision to raid herself the Mecattaf company in Awkar on Friday and again on Saturday to investigate financial crimes of the money exchange service.
She did this, reportedly defying Lebanon’s top prosecutor Judge Ghassan Oueidat who has issued her dismissal earlier on Friday from “important financial crimes” cases.
“I do not care about any decision… I am with the people,” she told the company’s lawyer Alexander Najjar and insisted on holding her own sit-in at the company.
She was then caught on video asking for security support and saying, “Come and I’ll cover you.”
“I’ll cover you,” she is heard reiterating. “I’ll say that you got a dispatch….”
It is to note that, prior to the raid, the money exchange company’s office was already sealed with red wax, subject to investigation of corruption and manipulation of the national currency against the dollar.
Judge Aoun‘s raid of the office, tagging along with her a crowd of FPM members chanting for her, came afterward.
According to Michel Mecattaf, the head of the company, they tried to enter the office by force.
Mecattaf said to MTV that he was “surprised by Judge Ghada Aoun and some Aounists who are trying to damage the entrance of the building and enter it by force.”
“We are prepared to provide all the required documents and we are under the law; I am a witness and I am not guilty in this case,” he added.
The second raid led to some clashes in front of the office, to which Judge Aoun addressed her supporters on a loudspeaker telling them to be calm and not attack anyone.
“We are working according to the law and studying judicial files, and we do not want to offend or attack anyone,” she said to her followers.
However, some members of a pro-Aoun group called United For Leb that came to support her attacked the MTV news crew and vandalized one of the station’s cars.
In a tweet, MP Farid Khazen wrote, “I call on the President to intervene to end the play in Awkar; Enough, Your Excellency, Mr. President, enough destruction of the judiciary, the entity, and especially your reign.”
This isn’t the first time Judge Aoun oversteps her position’s limits. In 2020, she both “personally” sued and ordered the arrest of the art historian and curator Gaby El-Daher over a social media post. A matter that was legally inadmissible and “a flagrant lack of judicial impartiality,” according to his lawyer Ayman Raad.