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Fears Over Riots Spreading to Lebanon’s Prisons

Fears Over Riots Spreading to Lebanon’s Prisons

Thursday, 9 April, 2020 - 12:15
Smoke rises from Roumieh prison, east of Beirut, April 5, 2011. REUTERS/ Mahmoud Kheir
Beirut- Youssef Diab

Acts of violence erupted in Al-Qubbeh prison in Tripoli on Tuesday night, warning of an imminent explosion that might reach all jails across Lebanon.

The riot reflected the prisoners’ anxiety over the spread of the coronavirus inside the prison and sent a strong message to the government to expedite the approval of the general amnesty law before the situation gets out of control.

The uproar in the Tripoli prison lasted until dawn, as screams and shouts were heard tens of meters away outside the prison.

Prisoners set fire to their mattresses and belongings before the security forces broke into the premises and fired rubber bullets, which led to several injuries among the inmates.

The situation was controlled hours later, after the intervention of Lebanese Army officers.

In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, security sources said that the situation was back to normal at the prison. They added that investigations were underway to determine the identity of the prisoners who initiated the riots, and those who attacked Lebanese Army forces outside the jail.

“Everyone understands the demands regarding the general amnesty law, but this pardon does not come by setting fire to the premises and exposing the lives of many prisoners to death, nor by attacking security personnel,” the sources emphasized.

In parallel with the riots, families of some prisoners and detainees tried to storm into the jail, clashing with army soldiers who prevented them from approaching the building.

Since the first days of the spread of the coronavirus epidemic in Lebanon, Lebanese prisons saw several riots, beginning with Roumieh prison in Mount Lebanon, then Zahleh jail in the Bekaa, and reaching Tripoli earlier this week.

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