A large group of Members of the European Parliament, judges, and officials gathered in Brussels on Tuesday evening to support Omar Harfouch, the Leader of the Third Lebanon Republic initiative, who is being politically and judicially repressed for his fight against corruption in Lebanon.
A conference was held on Tuesday evening at the European Parliament headquarters in Brussels to discuss the future of Lebanon and the role of the European Union in advancing human rights in the country. The conference was attended by European deputies, judges, and officials, as well as Omar Harfouch, the Leader of the Third Lebanon Republic initiative. Harfouch is a Lebanese activist who has been persecuted by the Lebanese government for his work to fight corruption. The conference was held in support of Harfouch and his efforts to promote democracy and human rights in Lebanon.
The conference was held few days ago at the invitation of a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET), MEP Lukas Mandel, and was titled “Which Future for Lebanon? The Role of the European Union in Advancing Human Rights in Lebanon.” According to sources, the most prominent figures who attended the meeting were the Public Prosecutor of Mount Lebanon, Judge Ghada Aoun, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, Andre Petrojev, a member of the French Senate, Natalie Gaulier, and the founder of “Sherpa” lawyer William Bourdon, in addition to Representatives from various European countries.
Claude Moniquet, a former intelligence agent at the French Directorate-General for External Security (DGSE), and CEO of the European Strategic Intelligence and Security Center (ESISC) believes that Harfouch was the victim of an unfair and unlawful campaign to have him imprisoned. He called on the European Union to intervene and cancel the arrest warrant against Harfouch, arguing that the charges against him, which were brought by the Lebanese Prime Minister personally, did not give him the right to defend himself in court. Moniquet also pointed out that the accusations against Harfouch of meeting with Israelis or Jews under the roof of the European Parliament were an insult to the EU, as it is a place where people of all nationalities and religions come together.
Moniquet urged European countries to protect Harfouch from the political and judicial targeting he is facing in Lebanon, to cancel the illegal arrest warrant, and to impose sanctions on the politicians and judges involved in the case. The issue of sanctions against those involved in the Harfouch case is also expected to be on the agenda of the European Union in September when a vote on the matter will be held.
Upon his return from Beirut, lawyer William Bourdon spoke about the fight against corruption in Lebanon. He highlighted how the crimes committed by Riad Salameh, the Governor of the Banque du Liban, have been exposed, including the freezing of funds in Europe that he personally supervised. Bourdon warned that the coming days could bring trouble for some politicians who have been involved in corruption and money laundering
The intervention of Judge Ghada Aoun was under embargo on her demand who spoke about the corrupted judges in Lebanon and that without real justice the state of Lebanon would not exist, and considered that what Harfouch is exposed to is the best evidence of the existence of corruption in the judiciary.
In turn, Harfouch touched on his case in the military court, especially that the court moved against him with superficial allegations, specially considering that being in the same place with an Israeli journalist happened already in 2004 and long time has passed by, and that the real reason is that Harfouch fights corruption and exposes many scandals and files.
It is noteworthy that Harfouch did not mention during his speech the prime minister, Najib Mikati, or the first investigative judge in Tripoli, Samaranda Nassar who are doing a real unjustified war against him. When asked about the reason for not mentioning them, he said that he did not want to use the European Union platform to score points, and that those present talked about the issue and the result will come on conclusions.
But the point that aroused the attention of the audience was when Harfouch touched upon what Judge Aoun, lawyer Wadih Akl and Harfouch were subjected to, in terms of parallel political and judicial campaigns in terms of timing and source, because the trio were the ones who most confronted the corrupt in Lebanon, so the system wanted to get rid of them in any way.
The session came a week before the European Parliament voted on a decision regarding Lebanon and the possibility of including sanctions against officials in it who are related to corruption or those who protect the corrupt and a possible resolution in next September, after it was debated during the plenary session a week ago in Strasbourg and the case of Omar Harfouch was mentioned publicly and officially during the session, which is likely to be mentioned on the European decision itself.