Families of Tall Kalakh Victims Vow to Shut Border with Syria until Case is Resolvedإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
The families of the victims of the Tall Kalakh ambush and Islamist inmates held in Roumieh prison urged on Friday officials to exert efforts to resolve the case of their loved ones, vowing to take escalatory measures should their demands not be met.
They said during a protest in the northern city of Tripoli: “We will shut the border-crossings with Syria until this issue is resolved.”
They also demanded the expulsion of Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdul Karim Ali.
“Officials in Lebanon are busy persecuting Syrian opposition members simply because they are protesting against the regime,” they added.
“We are watching your actions and you should not be led to believe that we will remain silent over this injustice,” they declared.
“Our patience has limits,” they warned officials, while holding Interior Minister Marwan Charbel and Grand Mufti Mohammed Rashid Qabbani responsible for failing to resolve this issue and failing in fulfilling their promises.
The protesters noted the contradictory actions of the detention of the Islamists without trial for years and the release of prisoners arrested on charges of collaborating with Israel within a year of their arrest.
“Where is the justice?” they wondered.
“Is it possible that the criminal and spy be acquitted, while the oppressed are treated as victims?” they asked angrily.
They demanded that those “who oppressed the inmates be punished” and that compensations be presented to their families.
“We extend our hand to all sides and urge Islamic leaders to support our humanitarian cause,” said the protesters.
Charbel's media office later issued a statement refuting the claims that he had pledged to release more Islamists, saying that this issue does not lie within the minister's jurisdiction.
“He promised to work on completing the new trial chamber at Roumieh Prison before the end of 2012, which is what happened” it explained.
“The minister therefore fulfilled his vows and he is working within his capabilities with Justice Minister Shakib Qortbawi to speed up the trials,” it stressed.
In November, a number of Islamist fighters, who hail mainly from the North, were killed in an ambush by Syrian regime forces in the Syrian border town of Tall Kalakh.
They were seeking to fight alongside Syrian rebels.
The exact number of those killed remains unknown, with some reports saying that those who survived either returned to Lebanon, were captured by regime forces, or taken in by the Free Syrian Army.
The corpses of ten of the victims were returned to Lebanon in December.
In June, authorities released nine Islamists detained in Roumieh prison after at least four years of imprisonment.
Fourteen Islamists were initially arrested over alleged links to the Fatah al-Islam terrorist network that fought deadly gunbattles with the Lebanese army in 2007.
One released detainee estimated that some 180 Islamists are currently held in Roumieh prison, while the National News Agency placed the number at about 100.
At the time, Prime Minister Najib Miqati had request that then General Prosecutor Saeed Mirza completely resolve the case of Islamist inmates before the latter's retirement on July 15.