Charbel: Islamist Prisoners to Receive Same Treatment as Other Inmates

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Interior Minister Marwan Charbel revealed on Sunday that Islamist prisoners will receive the same treatment as other inmates after several scandals rocked Roumieh prison.

“From now on they will receive the same treatment,” Charbel told An Nahar daily when asked why the Islamists were receiving special treatment.

While stressing that all prisoners have mobile phones, he vowed to discuss with the telecommunications ministry ways to provide them a landline phone center like the rest of prisons worldwide.

He lamented that TVs and magazines were previously banned but now inmates are allowed to get them.

Asked that mobile phones are reportedly used by inmates to plan robberies and kidnappings from inside the prison, Charbel said: “We listen to them, they are under surveillance.”

The minister denied that the ability of the prisoners to get mobile phones was the result of an inadequacy by prison guards to search the visitors.

“I have files that prove that the general prosecutor used to allow in the past certain inmates to make phone calls, in particular if they were businessmen,” he told An Nahar.

Several Islamist prisoners have escaped from Roumieh and many prison break plots have been thwarted by guards.

The latest scandal was the death of Palestinian inmate Ghassan al-Qandaqli, who was found hanging in his cell at the prison’s Bloc B on January 18.

State Commissioner to the Military Court Judge Saqr Saqr charged on Friday eight Islamist inmates with murder. Media reports said it took two days of negotiations with them to allow police to question them over the alleged murder.

But the Internal Security Forces general-directorate said in a communique on Saturday that prisoners did not dictate their decisions.

Comments 4
Thumb lebanon_first 27 January 2013, 10:21

These are prisonners for god's sake. They should be tried and either released or put to hard labor. if found guilty, they should not be making phone calls or playing angry birds or drilling holes like the daltons. They should be working in prison to finance their stay.

Missing lqu7 27 January 2013, 10:32

Only in Lebanon are criminals and scum of the earth given the royal treatment, while honest law-abiding citizens get trampled upon by the zu3ama.

Default-user-icon John (Guest) 27 January 2013, 17:05

Dear Mr. Charbel,

First, you did not answer the question about WHY they were receiving special treatment and your statement that “from now on they will receive the same treatment [as others]” is merely an attestation of a fact most of us already know.

Second, for someone who is charge of national security, don;t you believe that mobile phones in the hands of inmates is a state liability ?

Third, if you "listen to them, they are under surveillance”, then how do you explain they were able to (i) commit a murder and cover it up without your knowledge, (ii) plan and execute other crimes and (iii) state but a few issues. In case you are not aware of it, there are detectors and jammers which you case purchase and install within the prison for a ridiculously low price. Moreover, whether they are businessmen or not, they are still "in prison" and why on earth would you allow them to freely contact people at will?

Default-user-icon John (Guest) 27 January 2013, 17:05

The bottom line is the following sir: you, much like most politicians in this country, are guilty to the very least of negligence and misrepresenting the facts!
If I were you, I would step down not because of that, but rather because of the way you insist on projecting a image of yourself and your "achievements" that is nothing short of a mosaic of lies. Perhaps in aspirations of a higher position.
But, then again, I am not you: I have pride and values and I thank God for that.