Lebanese diplomat Rami Adwan during a meeting with the Lebanese president at the presidential palace in Baabda. Image Credit: AFP file

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s foreign ministry said on Thursday it was recalling its ambassador to France, Rami Adwan, after an investigation was opened into allegations of rape and intentional violence by the envoy.

“Following the circumstances surrounding the case of the Lebanese ambassador to France... it has been decided to recall ambassador Rami Adwan,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Adwan is being investigated in France following complaints by two former embassy employees. He has diplomatic immunity but could face trial if Lebanon agrees to lift it.

Lebanon this week sent an investigation team to the embassy in Paris to question the ambassador and hear statements from embassy staff.

Thursday’s foreign ministry statement said the decision to recall Adwan also came “in light of” the dispatch of that team to France.

It said a charge d’affaires was appointed as head of mission on Wednesday.

A first former embassy employee, aged 31, had filed a complaint in June 2022 for a rape she says was committed in May 2020 in the ambassador’s private apartment, sources close to the investigation told AFP earlier, confirming a report by the Mediapart news site.

According to the complaint, she had a relationship with the ambassador, who carried out “psychological and physical violence with daily humiliations”.

The second woman, aged 28, made a complaint last February after what she said was a series of physical attacks after she turned down sexual relations.