The mass escape of prisoners from the Internal Security Forces outpost in Qasr al-Adl in the town of Baabda in Mount Lebanon has reopened the file of prisons in Lebanon wide.
The 25 Lebanese prisons, and two others are designated for minors and juveniles, exceeded their capacity specified by about 2,500 prisoners, or a maximum of 3,500 prisoners, but on the ground, the number of prisoners exceeds 10 thousand prisoners (58% of the Lebanese nationality, and 42% of various Arab and foreign nationalities. ).
This overcrowding in prisons and pre-trial detention centers comes from factors and causes, the most prominent of which is the slow pace of judicial trials that extend for months and sometimes years, and the prisoner’s drive to the courts due to the shortage of forces in charge of the transfer process, the latest of which is the large number of foreign prisoners, both sentenced and not yet sentenced. Their embassies did not show interest in returning them to their countries, or because of the failure to activate and implement the prisoner exchange agreements signed between Lebanon and several countries.
"The prison crisis in Lebanon is old and new," says the journalist, specializing in judicial and security affairs, Radwan Murtada. He adds that the mass escape from the Palace of Justice prison in Baabda has shed light again on the overcrowding in Lebanese prisons that crosses the legal and humanitarian red lines.
Murtada points out to Al-Jazeera Net that the issue of overcrowding has turned into something like a time bomb.
He believes that the escape of more than 69 people from Baabda prison, out of 125, calls for declaring a state of judicial emergency in the country to disrupt the effect of the prison and prisoners' file bomb.
Security forces encircled the vicinity of the Palace of Justice in Baabda and the prison adjacent to it (Al-Jazeera)
The judicial authority
The judicial authority
declaring a state of judicial emergency to solve the overcrowding crisis in prisons opens the door to the reality of the judiciary in Lebanon, says lawyer Gad Rizk, and believes that it is not permissible to open this file from a "needle hole" and consider the escape of detainees from Baabda prison a major crime.
In his interview with Al-Jazeera Net, Rizk explained that the file starts from the reality of the judiciary, which is considered an independent authority.
He says that this authority, "unfortunately, is subject to the act of political and sectarian balances in the country, and this limits its independence, and the negative consequences that affect the work of the judiciary and judges."
The lawyer believes that what happened “does not stem from lax security procedures. Rather, the act of fleeing itself makes us wonder loudly: Why are there 128 detainees in rooms with a small area, barely able to accommodate 20 people?” And why this delay or delay in the judicial investigation procedures and issuance Provisions? "
Rizk says that the judiciary must first activate its work and independence, then after that we start searching for the shortcomings in the overcrowding of Lebanese prisons and the resulting escape, "not surprising", as he put it.
Lebanese security said that 5 prisoners were killed in a car accident when they fled (Reuters)
escape of 69 prisoners from the Qasr Adil prison in Baabda, which came at a well thought out and pre-planned timing.
An informed security source told Al-Jazeera Net that investigations are continuing to uncover the circumstances of the escape, adding that there are no backgrounds, political reasons or accusations of terrorist cases for the escapees.
The same source revealed that about 20 prisoners equipped with sharp tools attacked the security forces while opening the doors to take out the waste, where 3 of the officers and a cleaner were injured.
He explained that the security forces continue to pursue 39 of the escaping prisoners, after 25 prisoners were arrested, and 5 others were killed, and the taxi they had forcibly seized collided with a tree.