The recent actions of Mount Lebanon Public Prosecutor Judge Ghada Aoun have called for an exceptional meeting of the High Judicial Council. So, what did Judge Aoun do exactly?
The chaotic events in which Judge Aoun was involved over the weekend were preceded by a decision by Lebanese State Prosecutor Judge Ghassan Oueidat.
The Friday decision dismissed Judge Aoun from cases of financial crimes, including a case involving the money exchange company Mecattaf, which she had been handling before her dismissal.
Judge Oueidat‘s decision was a form of disciplinary action against her for violating both the laws that regulate the work of judges and the circulars issued by the State Prosecutor, according to local media.
Despite being relieved of the case, Judge Aoun, accompanied by State Security personnel and activists from the FPM group “United for Leb” alliance, proceeded to raid Mecattaf’s headquarters in Awkar hours after the decision.
The raid also happened in spite of the fact that the targeted location had already been sealed with red wax based on a judicial order, as the Mecattaf company was under investigation. Judge Aoun unsealed the company with a judicial order.
Mecattaf’s attorney, Alexander Najjar, then faced Judge Aoun in the building and cited Judge Oueidat‘s decision to remove her from the company’s case.
However, she dismissed the attorney’s arguments and insisted on staying on the company’s premises. “I do not care about any decision… I have the people with me,” she reportedly told Najjar.
Judge Aoun Insists
At this point of the event, the State Security members accompanying her on the raid had left her side following an order from State Security Director-General Maj. Gen. Antoine Saliba.
Nevertheless, she requested security support over the phone, and she was recorded on video saying: “Come and I’ll cover you.”
She remained in the building with the activists, who called on their FPM supporters to rally with them in front of the company in support of her actions.
She then left one of the offices that had been forced open and asked that it be sealed with red wax before heading upstairs to file a report.
She remained in the Mecattaf headquarters until around 9 PM Friday. “Our work is ongoing and the judiciary is with you, and I thank you for your support,” she told the crowd that came to her support.
The next day, supported by dozens of Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) supporters, she again raided one of the offices of the Mecattaf company.
The company’s entrance was opened by force, and Judge Aoun was inside for the second time in less than 24 hours.
Aoun’s actions prompted Lebanon’s High Judicial Council to hold an exceptional meeting on Monday to discuss her lack of commitment in regards to the decision of Judge Ghassan Oueidat.
The meeting also aimed to address Judge Aoun‘s “damage to public judicial order due to her disregard for the decisions of the High Judicial Council and her violation of the reservation obligation as a result of the media campaigns that accompanied her.”
According to judicial sources, Judge Aoun committed 17 violations in that raid.
The High Judicial Council requested on Monday that Judge Aoun attends a meeting that will take place on Tuesday morning.
The upcoming meeting will reportedly involve questioning Judge Aoun and reviewing the latest developments in the Mecattaf case of buying U.S. dollars and shipping them abroad, which Judge Aoun was recently dismissed from by Judge Oueidat.