Jumblat Calls for Swift Trial of Islamist Inmates to End Crisis

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Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat called on Monday for the swift trial of the Islamist gunmen to reduce tension in the country, rejecting any attempts to exchange the abducted security personnel with Islamist inmates.

He slammed the judiciary, considering if it didn’t neglect the trials of the Islamist prisoners, it would have averted a crisis.

“Why is there hesitation in carrying out fair trials taken into consideration the surrounding political circumstances after the Islamic State of the Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) deployed along our border?” Jumblat wondered in comments published in As Safir newspaper.

On several occasions, the al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front and ISIL vowed to free Islamist prisoners in Roumieh “within days.”

But the jihadist groups, who overran the northeastern border town of Arsal last month, took hostage several soldiers and policemen as they withdrew from the village, in an attempt to exchange them with Roumieh prison Islamists.

Several of them were set free in previous stages but the latest hostage release was on Saturday night.

However, the Druze leader completely rejected any trade between the Islamist prisoners and the abducted security personnel.

He expressed belief that such a maneuver would lead to chaos and hit the army, reiterating his rejection to self-security, which would make the state yield.

In 2012, a new courtroom was inaugurated at Roumieh facility to speed up the trials for the Fatah al-Islam inmates, who are held in the prison’s bloc B, but the judiciary didn’t kick start any trial yet.

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

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