Protesters Back Jailed Hostage-Taking Depositor as ABL Rejects 'Violence'
Protesters and activists on Wednesday staged a sit-in outside the Justice Palace in Beirut in solidarity with a jailed man who took hostages Tuesday at a Bekaa bank and forced employees to give him $50,000 in cash from his own account.
The man, Abdallah al-Sahi, had turned himself in to security forces after obtaining the money. Bekaa prosecutor Judge Munif Barakat later issued a decision ordering the confiscation of the $50,000.
Al-Sahi announced a hunger strike on Wednesday according to media reports.
As al-Sahi’s move won praise on social media, the head of the depositors association, Hassan Mughniyyeh, accused the judiciary of collusion with the banks.
“We won’t allow that Abdallah al-Sahi be persecuted,” Mughniyeh added, revealing that he had called the man’s sister and agreed with her that the sum of money “would not be handed over no matter what happens.”
The Association of Banks in Lebanon meanwhile condemned “the repeated attacks that have recently targeted a number of branches, endangering employees’ lives.”
In a statement, the Association condemned “all forms of violence,” warning that “attempted murder or even threatening to burn employees alive are acts that cannot be justified nor accepted under any circumstances.”
“The recovery of deposits has one path: a comprehensive recovery plan that would revive the country through which the state would preserve depositors’ money,” ABL added.