Fattouch Fails to Get out of Downward Spiral

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The Ministry of Justice mobilized yesterday following MP Nicolas Fattouch’s physical assault on an administrative officer, affirming its role in “shielding the employees’ dignity within the confines of Justice Palaces”. The whole shenanigan was got bloated due to public outrage, especially with the Public Prosecution’s retroactive reaction trumpeting reconciliation between the aggressor and the victim, hence allowing Fattouch to leave unpunished. However, Minister of Justice Ashraf Rifi then requested that “proper investigations be launched and legal measures be taken.”

Manal Daou, the woman punched by the lawmaker, told al-Akhbar daily that she has not yet filed a complaint against Fattouch, but has voiced her intention to do so in coming days. Manal, who at first decline to press charges against the deputy, has changed her mind following the Justice Ministry’s mobilization and support. It is worth noting that Manale has been shored up by figureheads, which would eventually lead to taking Fattouch to court.

Legal experts confirmed that the lawmaker’s immunity falls in the case of flagrante delicto (a legal term used to indicate that a criminal has been caught in the act of committing an offence). Manal’s case falls under such a category, therefore allowing immediate prosecution.

“There are witnesses to Fattouch’s physical and verbal assault against the employee while on duty,” said a legal adviser, noting that the abasement offense as committed by MP Nicolas Fattouch does not comply with the Constitution’s article 39, which grants him parliamentary immunity.

Parliamentary immunity, according to the expert, applies to opinions and ideas as expressed by the lawmaker during his term. In other words, immunity is set to protect him “while exercising his role as legislator, not assaulting a public servant.

Social media quickly reacted to the news with a hashtag “#MPextendshand” being introduced on Twitter, in reference to Fattouch’s assault (knowing that he was the one behind the extension draft bill proposing the parliamentary self-extension). The incident had provoked uproar as the Association of Public Employees called for “taking appropriate measures and penalizing Fattouch.”

A symbolic sit-in has been scheduled outside the Ministry of Justice on Thursday 9:30 am, with the Association of Public Employees urging civil servants to suspend all duties from 8:30 until 10:30.

The Lebanese Women Democratic Gathering deplored the incident calling it “a reflection of the typical male abuse of power that has bashed all women’s rights and dignity”, also demanding that Fattouch be held accountable.

source : MTV

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