Lawyer Wassef Al-Harake accused the former minister of public health, Wael Abu Faour, of sending cancer medications to As-Suwayda in Syria during his time in the office, which led to a shortage and lack of medications for Lebanese citizens.
Lawyer Wassef Al-Harakeh has been one of the Lebanese 17 October Revolution most notable activists, speaking in seminars and discussions.
He has been leading legal initiatives to help in shedding light on the citizens' legal responsibility towards Lebanon, and the government's legal responsibility towards the people they represent.
Wael Abu Faour denied all accusations, confirming that he gave up on his parliamentary immunity in order for the judicial system to practice its authority freely and with no restriction. He also sued Al-Harake for libel, defamation, and fabrication of news.
قدمت دعوى أمام مدعي عام التمييز متنازلا فيها عن حصانتي النيابية وإذا كنت مخطئا فليأخذ القضاء مجراه وإذا كان واصف الحركة مخطئا فليتقدم باعتذار من اللبنانيين ومن الثورة التي يتحدث باسمها— Wael Abou Faour Official (@WaelAbouFaour1) February 3, 2020
The former minister said in a tweet; "If Al-Harake was proven to be right, I pledge again before the Lebanese people to resign from my parliamentary seat because I would not deserve to represent the Lebanese people. I would also resign from the Progressive Socialist Party because I would not deserve to belong to it."
"However, if I turned out to be right, I expect him [Wassef Al Harake] to apologize to everyone affected by his words," he added.
Al-Harake answered back in a statement attached to a tweet. He referenced a Lebanese expression: "Mr. Abu Faour's tweet looks like an attempt to scatter ashes in the eyes."
The expression means that scattering ashes in the eyes would eventually blind a person's eyesight, hence, preventing him/her from the truth.
He said, "I cited the words of Dr. Ismail Sukkariya in his interview with journalist Fadi Shahwan on the MTV Lebanon TV channel, contrary to the allegations of the Minister."
"Previously, during the period of the disappearance of cancer medications, Lebanese customs agents stopped three trucks loaded with medicines." Al-Harake explained, "This was accompanied by the news of the presence of the missing medicines in the Syrian province of As-Suwayda."
Al-Harake concluded by stating: "We also pledge to all citizens that we will follow the cancer meds case till the very end; until every person who wasted and/or misappropriated public funds gets held accountable for their actions."
Al-Harake will be having a press conference on February 5 in Azariyeh, Beirut, at 12:00 pm to discuss further the "Ministry of Public Health" corruption file.
Regardless of who's telling the truth in this case, it is worth noting that this isn't the first time we observe similar responses from officials in Lebanon when critical files concerning them come to light or when fingers are pointed at them directly on certain cases.
The use of the law on slandering, vague as it is in Lebanon, has been a tool, mostly used from one side, to shut off activists, truth seekers, and people sharing their opinions in simple comments. Too many citizens have been arrested, and imprisoned or made to pay a high fine because of that.