BEIRUT: MP Butros Harb will file a lawsuit against Lebanon’s general prosecutor and will request that his immunity is lifted in order to do so, he said Tuesday.
“I am preparing a lawsuit against Judge Hatem Madi and I will not remain silent over what happened in order to set him as an example for others in the future,” Harb told reporters at a press conference from his Hazmieh residence.
Judge Madi Monday requested Harb’s parliamentary immunity be lifted over recent statements he made following the judiciary’s decision to charge a member of Hezbollah with the July 2012 attempt on the lawmaker’s life.
After Hayek was charged last week, Harb hailed the judiciary’s action but said Hezbollah had put pressure on both political and judicial officials to prevent the handover of Hayek, who remains at large.
According to Madi, Harb’s remarks that President Michel Sleiman interfered in the case to push for filing charges against Hayek were insulting to both the presidency and the judiciary.
“I request that Parliament strips me of my immunity in order to allow me to confront Madi,” said Harb as he described his dispute with the judge as “personal.”
“My stance is not against the judiciary, but against Madi in person,” said Harb.
The Batroun MP accused Madi of obstructing justice by striking a deal with Hezbollah to protect Hayek, which he said would allow the suspect to give his testimony and immediately be released.
Hayek was charged on Feb. 1 with carrying out acts of terror after planting a bomb in the elevator of the building that houses Harb’s office in Badaro, Beirut, in July 2012.
Harb said that the judiciary was reluctant to address the case despite his calls to file charges against Hayek.
“My insistence on the military prosecutor Judge Saqr Saqr to get a brief on the progress in the case was met with stalling, which made me believe that something was being kept from me,” said Harb.
Madi said he would only respond to Harb in a "civilized, legal manner."
"I’m not fluent in this abusive language because I'm the son of an environment that was raised on high morality and if I decided to respond, it will be in a civilized, legal manner," the National News Agency quoted Madi as saying.
The MP added that the security authorities could not apprehend Mahmoud Hayek due to his affiliations with Hezbollah and said that he relayed his concerns over the case to the president.
According to the MP, during the funeral of slain general Wissam al-Hasan in October, the president demanded of Madi that political cover of criminals be removed.
“I thank once again President Sleiman for his intervention to tackle this case and for pressing to issue an arrest warrant against Mahmoud Hayek,” said Harb.
“The president protects the law and he is not biased against any side,” he added.
Harb went on saying “Madi is acting as a judge in favor of one side in Lebanon against another.”
”You insulted the authority that you should represent,” he said refereeing to the judge.