AS NRL fans come to terms with the shock news concerning former Bulldogs star Hazem El Masri, his former wife has spoken out in his defence.
Arwa Abousamra was married to the embattled rugby league hero for 13 years, until the split in 2014, but says they remain the best of friends and “his respect for women is beyond reproach”.
El Mazri, 39, is preparing to face a Sydney court tomorrow, charged with assaulting his new wife, Douah El-Cherif, 25.
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She made the accusations to Bankstown police on Monday night, allegedly following an altercation at their home, and El Mazri is now accused of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and common assault.
The accusations have shocked rugby league fans and commentators, as the Canterbury legend has been one of the poster boys for the sport and former ambassador for both NRL and White Ribbon – an organisation that stands against violence towards women.
“Hazem never as much as raised his voice at me, even in an argument,” Ms Abousamra said in a statement.
“To believe he would ever strike a woman is in comprehensible. Hazem’s respect for women is beyond reproach as is his character. Just ask the countless women in his life: a mother, two daughters, three sisters, seven nieces, and one best friend.”
El Masri has been ordered to not approach or contact his wife ahead of tomorrow’s court appearance.