No Terror Detainees among Those who Fled Baabda Prison


There are no terror detainees among the dozens of prisoners who have escaped from the Baabda prison, an informed security source said.

“Most of the escapees are Lebanese but they also include Syrians and Iraqis,” the source told Asharq al-Awsat newspaper in remarks published Sunday.

“The escapees were detainees, which means that they have not been put on trial yet,” the source added, noting that “some of them are charged with dangerous crimes and others with misdemeanors, but none of them is charged with terror-related offenses.”

The Internal Security Forces meanwhile announced that 25 of the 69 escapees have been arrested while five others died when a taxi they stole crashed into a tree.

“Security forces are exerting intensive and relentless efforts to re-incarcerate all the escapees,” the ISF added.

Municipal authorities called on residents to be on alert as the ISF released pictures of the escapees.

Prosecutor Ghada Aoun has ordered an immediate investigation in the breakout.

Speaking to AFP, she said she did not rule out the possibility of "collusion between the detainees and security guards tasked with protecting their cells."

Judge Fadi Akiki, a government representative at the military court, held a meeting with security officials after inspecting the detention facility and site of the car crash.

Relatives of the inmates gathered outside the detention center, located in Baabda's Justice Palace, where some were awaiting trial.

Some asked about the fate of their relatives, while others handed their sons back into custody, according to an AFP photographer.

They include Joumana Berjawi, whose 22-year-old son escaped after being held for six months on charges of attempted murder -- a charge she denies. 

"My son was among the escapees, but I brought him back and handed him over to the state," Berjawi told AFP.

The jailbreak comes as detainees across Lebanon have called on parliament to approve a draft general amnesty law, that would see thousands of them freed from coronavirus-hit prisons.

Lebanon has recorded over 113,000 Covid-19 cases including 884 deaths since the outbreak began in February.

The country is currently under lockdown until the end of the month to stem an uptick in infections.

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