BEIRUT: Lebanon pressed charges Wednesday against a policeman and six inmates, including five from Fatah al-Islam, in relation to an attempt to smuggle a chemical substance into Roumieh prison.
The substance was intended for use in orchestrating a prisoner escape.
Military Prosecutor Saqr Saqr charged all seven with forming a group that aimed at carrying out “terrorist acts and blowing up thier prison cells in order to escape.”
Last week, wardens at Roumieh prison, north of Beirut, arrested a police officer for trying to smuggle a chemical substance known as “carbure” inside sandwiches destined for a Fatah al-Islam prisoner. The substance can be used as a component in making explosives.
The policeman, a member of a police unit in charge of Roumieh, told investigators he was going to deliver the sandwiches to prisoner Charbel Shalitta. Shalitta, for his part, admitted he was planning to smuggle the substance to a leader of Fatah al- Islam prisoners at Roumieh.
Saqr charged the police officer and Shalitta as an accomplice for trying to smuggle the substance “carbure” to the Fatah Islam leader.
The charges could lead to the death penalty.
A security source, speaking to The Daily Star on condition of anonymity, identified the policeman as Patrick Haddad. The five Fatah al- Islam prisoners on the charge sheet were named as Khaled Youssef, Salim Saleh, Mohammad Merhi, Bilal Ibrahim and Nouri al-Hajji.