BEIRUT: Amid heavy security presence, relatives of the hostages kidnapped in Azaz staged a sit-in outside the residence of Speaker Nabih Berri in Ain al-Tineh Tuesday to protest the detaining of three of their relatives for the kidnapping of two Turkish pilots.
The protesters said they would continue staging sit-ins as long as their relatives remained in police custody, saying the kidnapping of their nine relatives was politically motivated, as was the kidnapping of the Turkish pilots last month.
The families added that they were targeted by the Information Branch of the Internal Security Forces.
Sheikh Abbas Zoghaib, who has been commissioned by the Shiite Higher Council to follow up on the issue, said the protest was organized to shed light on the unfair treatment experienced by the relatives of the kidnapped Lebanese. He said it was staged outside Berri’s home as the speaker had not yet tried to release their relatives.
MP Ali Hassan Khalil spoke to the protestors and asked them to return for a closed door meeting Wednesday at 11:30 a.m.
The nine hostages were among 11 Lebanese kidnapped in May 2012 by a Syrian rebel group while returning from a pilgrimage to a Shiite shrine in Iran. Two of the hostages were released late last year.