Families Block Roads as Islamist Prisoners Begin Hunger Strike

Families of Islamist prisoners on Thursday blocked roads in Tripoli and the Bekaa as detained Islamist cleric Khaled Hoblos called for an open hunger strike in Lebanese prisons “until the approval of a general amnesty.”

The families blocked the Saadnayel-Chtaura road in the Bekaa and the Abu Ali roundabout in the northern city of Tripoli in solidarity with their sons.

The National News Agency meanwhile reported that more than 300 prisoners had started a hunger strike at the al-Qobbeh prison in Tripoli to press for the approval of a general amnesty.

“No protests or riots have been recorded,” NNA said.

Hoblos had earlier in the day called for a hunger strike in Lebanese prisons in an audio recording from the Roumieh prison.

Addressing President Michel Aoun, Speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Hoblos called for “finding a solution for thousands of detainees from all sects,” asking them to “seek the help of religious leaders to find a solution that suits everyone in a short time.”

“We, the detainees in Lebanese prisons, are resuming our hunger strike under the slogan Freedom or Death,” Hoblos says in the audio recording.

Several protests have been held across Lebanon in recent months demanding that Islamist prisoners be part of a discussed general amnesty.

Lebanese authorities have rounded up hundreds of Sunni Islamists over the last years, including some involved in bombings against civilians and deadly clashes with the Lebanese Army. They also include extremists believed to belong to al-Qaida-linked groups and the Islamic State group.

A lot of Islamist prisoners and their families have decried delay in judicial procedures and trials. Some prisoners are held for several years without trial or conviction.

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