The former Prime Minister of Lebanon Najib Mikati was charged with illegitimate gains by the Public Prosecutor of Mount Lebanon Ghada Aoun on October 23. A week after, Judge Aoun is now facing disciplinary action by State Prosecutor Ghassan Oueidat, who also issued a circular to security institutions urging them to stop referring cases to Judge Aoun.
As per the case, Mikati was accused of obtaining subsidized housing loans, which are usually only given to citizens who cannot afford to pay for houses. The charges brought by Judge Aoun also involved Mikati’s son and brother, in addition to Bank Audi. The accused were referred to the examining magistrate in Beirut for investigation.
A week after the case, State Prosecutor Oueidat took disciplinary action against Judge Aoun for “striking legal and ethical rules” and the decision was communicated to the Minister of Justice and the Judicial Inspection Board.
One of the rules Judge Aoun had broken according to Oueidat, was suing a delegate before consulting the appeal prosecutor, which ought to be done in such serious cases.
Judge Ghada Aoun was quick to respond to the decision, saying in a public appearance, “They don’t want me to complete [the investigations]. They want the thefts to continue,” referring to the thefts which several political figures in Lebanon have been accused with.
She claimed that Oueidat had been “eagerly waiting” for the chance to press charges against her for taking initiative in trying corruption cases against authority figures.
She later added in an interview with the online magazine Mahkama that her punishment “falls within the framework of politicians putting their hands on the judiciary after the prosecution of Mikati and Bank Audi for crimes stipulated in the law of illicit enrichment, and therefore the boycott came to prevent the ability to pursue the prosecution of other figures of politicians and businessmen under the same offense.”
At that, social media has been circulating her photo with statements that her “punishment” is one of the results of the revolution, she being “the first” to take legal steps against corruption.
As part of the disciplinary action against Judge Aoun, State Prosecutor Oueidat issued a circular to the Director-General of the Internal Security Forces and to the General Security not to inform Judge Aoun of the cases before them.
Current and future cases handled by Judge Aoun will now be referred to a deputy Mount Lebanon prosecutor or directly to the state prosecutor. Oueidat also maintained that the disciplinary action taken against Judge Aoun was not about the illegal enrichment case at all, but for the fact that her case broke the law.
Some independent analyses concluded that the fact that Judge Aoun charged Najib Mikati by his name when the loans were supposedly obtained by the other two people included in her case was enough evidence to show that the case was not politicized as the Judge had claimed before.
تداولت ورئيس مجلس القضاء الأعلى في مستجدات قضية القاضية غادة عون، المسألة هي قضائية داخلية، وهي قيد المعالجة من قبل مجلس القضاء الأعلى لما فيه مصلحة القضاء. أهيب بالجميع أخذ هذا الأمر بعين الاعتبار.#غادة_عون
Minister of Justice Albert Sarhan tweeted Wednesday, “The President of the Supreme Judicial Council and I deliberated on the latest updates in the case of Judge Ghada Aoun. The matter is an internal judicial matter and is being addressed by the Supreme Judicial Council for the benefit of the judiciary. I urge everyone to take this into account.”
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