Omar Harfouch Received Overwhelming Support At EU Parliament Amid Lebanon’s Crisis and Looming Sanctions

28 June 2023
EIN Presswire, 28 June 2023

by Davide Lauretta/ Photo/video credits: EPP

The European Union Parliament recently held an influential conference entitled "What future for Lebanon - the role of the European Union in advancing human rights in the country." The conference held at the EU headquarters in Brussels saw widespread participation from European deputies, judges, officials, and a large crowd of supporters rallying for Omar Harfouch, the leader of the Third Lebanon Republic initiative.

Harfouch is currently grappling with political and judicial repression arising from his unyielding stance against corruption in his homeland, Lebanon. This conference, hosted by Lukas Mandl MEP, a member of the Committee on Foreign Relations, provided a platform to spotlight Harfouch's plight and galvanize support for his cause.

Among the high-level attendees were the Public Prosecutor of Mount Lebanon, Judge Ghada Aoun, Andre Petrojev, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, Natalie Goulet, a member of the French Senate, and the founder of pro-accountability NGO Sherpa, lawyer William Bourdon. A large delegation of representatives from various European countries also expressed their solidarity with Harfouch.

Following MEP Mandl’s opening remarks, which accused Iranian proxy Hezbollah of posing such a terrible threat to the Lebanese people, Judge Ghada Aoun explained the prevailing corruption within Lebanon's judiciary, stating that the essence of Lebanon as a state is under threat without real justice. Aoun asserted Harfouch's tribulations as concrete proof of the corruption pervading the judiciary.

Claude Moniquet, director of the European Strategic Intelligence and Security Center (ESISC), highlighted the orchestrated and unfair campaign against Harfouch, resulting in an unwarranted arrest warrant. Moniquet implored the European Union to intervene, advocate for Harfouch's right to a fair defense, and facilitate the cancellation of the unfounded arrest warrant.Moniquet's call for justice further extended to urging European countries to shield Harfouch from the political-judicial targeting in Lebanon.

Attendees expressed strong concerns about the unjust treatment of Harfouch, calling on the European Union to intervene, cancel the arrest warrant issued against Harfouch, and impose sanctions on all politicians and judges involved in his case. These appeals were rooted in the belief that the charges against Harfouch are of civil, not criminal nature, and the accusations of association with Israelis or Jews within the European Parliament premises are a distortion of the inclusive ethos of the Union.

Judicial reform will require a genuinely independent body that would investigate and take action against corruption in Lebanon, according to former chief of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) Govanni Kessler. He went further, suggesting that an international group needs to scrutinise broader corruption and malfeasance in the country.

French lawyer William Bourdon, who recently visited Beirut, shared insights about Lebanon's ongoing struggle against corruption. Bourdon alluded to the illicit activities committed by the Governor of the Banque du Liban, Riad Salameh, and the subsequent freezing of funds in Europe, which he supervised personally. He hinted at impending unpleasant surprises for politicians involved in corruption and money laundering cases.

Harfouch went on to discuss his case in the military court, highlighting his unwavering commitment to combating corruption and bringing numerous scandals to light. He chose not to mention Prime Minister Najib Mikati or the first investigative judge in Tripoli, Samaranda Nassar, stating his reluctance to use the European Union platform for point-scoring.

The conference concluded with an air of urgency, highlighting the need for Lebanon to uphold human rights, combat corruption, and reform its judicial system. Moderator Roberta Bonazzi, the president of the European Foundation for Democracy, underlined this sentiment, advocating for EU intervention to prevent harassment and threats against Judge Aoun. The issue of sanctions loomed heavily over the event, promising to take center stage at the European Union's meeting in September.


The original article is available here: