BEIRUT

Lebanon News

Rai calls for sweeping changes at Roumieh

Cardinal Beshara Rai kisses the foot of one of the prisoners for the traditional "Washing of the feet" during Holy Thursday (Maundy Thursday) at Roumieh Prison, Thursday, April 17, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)

BEIRUT: Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai celebrated Holy Thursday with a Mass at the Roumieh prison complex, calling for sweeping reforms at the notorious facility.

The Mass was held in an open yard at the maximum-security facility with the participation of the General Director of the Internal Security Forces Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Basbous, who was representing Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk, and Brig. Gen. Mounir Akiki, who was representing General Director of General Security Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim.

In his sermon after the Mass, Rai addressed the “hardships” of prisoners and lamented “their suffering, their needs, their ordeals, their difficulties and their not being protected from moral, physical and spiritual aggressions.”

Rai called on state authorities to shoulder their responsibilities toward prison inmates and to treat them with compassion in line with international law and human rights, so that the prison could be turned into a rehabilitation facility instead of a place for merely detaining individuals.

Rai also asked that medical, health, environmental and security conditions be improved in the prison and that something be done to reduce overcrowding. He asked that relevant ministries revisit their role to protect inmates from harm and torture in detention facilities.

Rai also implored the authorities to pardon prisoners with serious illnesses and asked that those who were handicapped or too old to take care of themselves be released.

The Maronite patriarch noted the importance of establishing a common commission with members from all relevant ministries to run the prison and oversee the construction of new facilities. They would ideally hold sessions to retrain those who work in the prison as well.

Rai emphasized that minors should be held separately in a juvenile facility and that inmates should be categorized and housed according to the severity of their crimes and how dangerous they were to society.

He called for rehabilitating inmates held on drug abuse charges and demanded more efforts be made to prevent the smuggling of drugs into prisons.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on April 18, 2014, on page 4.

Recommended

Advertisement

Comments

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

comments powered by Disqus
Summary

Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai celebrated Holy Thursday with a Mass at the Roumieh prison complex, calling for sweeping reforms at the notorious facility.

Rai called on state authorities to shoulder their responsibilities toward prison inmates and to treat them with compassion in line with international law and human rights, so that the prison could be turned into a rehabilitation facility instead of a place for merely detaining individuals.

Rai also asked that medical, health, environmental and security conditions be improved in the prison and that something be done to reduce overcrowding.


Advertisement

FOLLOW THIS ARTICLE

Interested in knowing more about this story?

Click here