Jumblat Urges Construction of Prison Meeting Human Rights Standards to Avoid New Riots

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Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat called Monday for building a “modern prison” to replace the run-down, overcrowded Roumieh facility in order to avoid further riots and mutinies.

“It has become very urgent to construct a modern prison that meets the minimum requirements of human rights, seeing as detainees and prisoners are humans and they have the right to spend their jail terms at a facility enjoying the proper standards,” said Jumblat in his weekly editorial in the PSP-affiliated al-Anbaa newspaper.

“This would help achieve the prison's corrective mission, which is totally nonexistent at the moment due to the prisons' current situations,” Jumblat added.

He also warned that maintaining the dire conditions at the country's jail facilities would only lead to renewed “riots and mutinies.”

A limited riot was staged by inmates in Roumieh's block D overnight on Monday as Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq vowed that the situation will not return to the way it used to be.

Sunday's riot comes two days after a similar incident in the same facility on Friday that was led by the Islamist inmates.

Roumieh, the oldest and largest of Lebanon's overcrowded prisons, has witnessed sporadic prison breaks and escalating riots in recent years as inmates living in poor conditions demand better treatment.

The Islamist inmates were initially held at block B, but transferred earlier this year to block D, which has better conditions.

Their former ward is under renovation and Mashnouq said that they will be moved back and redistributed when repair works end.

Separately, Jumblat said a “miracle” is needed for the election of a new president “after some political leaders rejected the principle of a consensual president and refused to seek a settlement despite the critical regional situations and the need to fill the presidential vacuum as soon as possible.”


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