Police thwart Roumieh escape attempt by suspected Islamists

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Police thwarted an attempt by a group of around 20 inmates suspected of belonging to Fatah al-Islam to escape Roumieh prison Thursday.  The prisoners who took part in the attempt divided themselves into two groups, the sources said.

One group of the inmates were caught cutting the window of the prison’s library, which leads to the jail’s courtyard, while another group attempted to make a hole in the wall of the prison’s closed workshop, the sources said.

The prison’s workshop has been closed for some time now after prisoners set fire to it during attempts to stir riots in Roumieh.

Police deployed heavily outside the cells of the suspected Islamist prisoners following the incident and Military Judge Danny al-Zeini, who arrived at the scene, launched an investigation into the incident.

There are over 150 prisoners who have been held in Roumieh for several years over suspected links to Fatah al-Islam, which fought the Lebanese Army in the north Lebanon Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared in 2007.

Fatah al-Islam was eventually defeated following four months of clashes with the Lebanese Army in the north, and dozens of members of the Islamist militant group were apprehended by Lebanon’s security services.

Many of the prisoners and their relatives have complained that most of the suspected Fatah al-Islam inmates have not been tried or convicted of crimes.

Three suspected Islamist inmates managed to escape from Roumieh in October, causing a security scandal in the country and leading to the arrest of 18 policemen – all members of the Internal Security Forces – with crimes ranging from negligence to complicity.

 

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