Report: Joumaa Demands to Stand Trial, Says Negotiations with Nusra 'Waste of Time'إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Syrian detainee Imad Jomaa, a member of the al-Qaida-affiliated al-Nusra Front, whose arrest sparked the Arsal unrest in August, reportedly expressed doubt that negotiations with the jihadists entrenched on the outskirts of the town on the porous Syrian-Lebanese border would lead to his release.
Jomaa, according to As Safir newspaper published on Thursday, is demanding to be referred to the judiciary to stand trial as he believes that the negotiations are “a waste of time.”
The newspaper reported that Jomaa informed lawyers that the jihadists, al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State group who kidnapped several policemen and soldiers while withdrawing from the northeastern border town, are fed up with the “useless negotiations” to swap Islamist inmates with the captive servicemen.
“The kidnappers have homes and food and are capable of enduring the harsh weather,” Jomaa reportedly said in response to claims that the Lebanese state is depending on the onset of winter that would force gunmen to leave their positions on the outskirts back into Syria.
In August, State Commissioner to the Military Court Judge Saqr Saqr charged Jomaa and 42 Syrians with belonging to armed terrorist groups.
They were also been charged with seeking to carry out terrorist attacks, seizing control of Lebanese territories in order to set up their own emirate, killing soldiers and civilians, sabotaging military vehicles, and damaging public and private property.
The Nusra has said that the three-month hostage crisis would end if 10 inmates held at Lebanese prisons would be freed for each hostage or seven Lebanese inmates and 30 female prisoners held in Syria would be released for each abducted soldier and policeman or if five Lebanese and 50 women inmates would be freed.
The group added that the swap with the prisoners held at Syrian prisons should take place in Turkey or Qatar, while the exchange with the Lebanese authorities should take place on the outskirts of the town of Arsal.
The cabinet had previously totally rejected any swap deal with the jihadists.
For its part, the IS group has announced its readiness to release the Lebanese soldiers and policemen in its captivity, if the Lebanese state sets free five Islamist inmates in return for each captive.