The lawyers of Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab have admitted to the premier's lawsuit against the American University of Beirut and slammed the university for a so-called "orchestrated media campaign."
Amal Haddad, one of the two attorneys who penned a letter responding to Al Arabiya English's report titled "Lebanon’s PM Diab sues AUB for $1 mln, asks for overseas payment," admitted that the prime minister was demanding compensation for the 35 years he worked at AUB.
Diab has "demanded that this compensation be transferred to his account abroad, and this is his right, especially since the amounts he is asking for have their source outside Lebanon," Haddad told Daraj, an independent digital media platform.
On July 7, Al Arabiya English published an article citing two senior AUB officials and two other sources with knowledge of the lawsuit. Diab, they said, has asked for nearly $1 million in retirement funds and severance pay.
The officials and sources who spoke to Al Arabiya English said that Diab has no right to either since he did not retire and was never asked to leave his post as Vice President for Regional External Programs (REP).
Diab, the officials said, can still return to the university as a professor in the Faculty of Engineering.
In the letter from Haddad and Naji al-Boustany, the attorneys said that Diab had the right to pursue legal measures for information published by Al Arabiya English. The statement said that the article's information was "not true," and "legally incorrect," without elaborating or specifying which points were inaccurate.
Nevertheless, the attorneys admitted Diab filed a lawsuit to a Beirut judge regarding the prime minister's "entitlements and benefits upon 35 years of contractual relationship" with AUB.
The attorneys also alleged "defamation" in Al Arabiya English's original article, while the attorneys blasted AUB's "negative" and deleterious" stance against Diab since 2017.
Diab's lawyers also accused AUB of resorting to "media leaks ... for intimidation purposes."
"The orchestrated media campaign ... tarnishes the heritage and history of this university," the lawyers said.