Back in December of 2021, students in Tripoli shared troubling testimony
about a high school teacher named Samer Mawlawi who had repeatedly sexually harassed students. It was not long before many others came forward to share similar screenshots and their own experiences detailing Mawlawi’s repeated heinous and criminal behavior.
Despite the fact that a case against Mawlawi was submitted during the first week of February, this serial harasser managed to evade the Tripoli Investigation Branch three times before finally appearing in front of Public Prosecutor Matilda Touma two days ago.
Unfortunately yet unsurprisingly, Mawlawi was released after FILING A PLEDGE that he would not contact nor approach the students who filed the claim against him. He is free to approach other students :).
It is unclear how those in charge of this case expect a piece of paper to be sufficient deterrent for a man who is accused of harassment by dozens of young girls. More importantly, the Lebanese legal system is sending a clear message to survivors and victims of harassment and assault: we do not care about you.
Earlier this year, we all witnessed serial harasser and rapist Marwan Habib
finally getting charged with sexual assault in Florida. Despite the fact that over 50 women came forward to share their traumatizing experiences with Marwan Habib reportedly sexually assaulting and harassing them, Lebanese authorities failed to uphold the safety of women and citizens by letting him run free and even travel.
In a country where harassment is met with a slap on the wrist while cursing a politician lands you in jail, we can only hope that the upcoming elections pave the way for a more solid judiciary.