Families of prisoners in Lebanon staged on Friday a sit-in in front of the Interior Ministry, to demand the approval of the general amnesty bill and the speeding up of trials, in addition to solving the problem of overcrowding in prisons and the shortage of meals.
Lebanon’s National News Agency said security forces closed the road in front of the Ministry and diverted traffic to other routes.
The families called on caretaker Interior Minister Mohammed Fahmy to find a comprehensive solution to the problems of prisoners and prisons.
They explained that their children suffer from famine in overcrowded prisons, amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Lebanon has 25 prisons with 6,989 detainees, 5,391 of whom are in Roumieh Central Prison and other prisons, while the remaining 1,598 are in the justice palaces and ISF detention centers, according to recent figures.
During the sit-in, Damar Al-Miqdad, head of the Association of Committees for the Families of Detainees in Lebanese Prisons, called on the approval of a general amnesty for inmates amid the pandemic, particularly as the State remains unable to feed them.
“If you are incapable to offer prisoners food meals then why not release them or speed up their trials,” Miqdad said.
Lebanon's economic crisis has recently affected prisons where detainees and their families warn of a possible "famine" if the quantities of the food they receive continue to decline, particularly poultry and meat.
Two weeks ago, the prisoners of Block B in Roumieh Central Prison issued a statement regarding their condition, saying they are suffering from high prices at the prison’s store, and the state’s financial crisis that has become unable to secure their food.
The statement, circulated by the Lebanese Observatory for Prisoners' Rights, indicated that quantities have been reduced to quarter and hospitals are refusing to receive sick inmates after the government failed to pay their dues. Lebanon’s Prosecutor General had also asked the Directorate General of Internal Security Forces to quickly prepare a detailed report about circulated news concerning a possible famine in prisons and the high prices at the prisons’ stores.