Lebanon News

Islamic Gathering slams Tripoli detentions

Tripoli residents protest to demand the release of a militia leader from Roumieh prison, Wednesday, July 9, 2014. (The Daily Star/Antoine Amrieh)

BEIRUT: The National Islamic Gathering called on Tripoli residents to refrain from blocking roads, while criticizing what they said were arbitrary detention targeting Sunnis.

“We reject random detentions against the people of Tripoli,” Future MP Mohammad Kabbara told reporters after chairing a meeting for the gathering.

“We hold the public prosecutor and the judiciary responsibility for every Sunni handed over to them.”

The National Islamic Gathering is comprised of a diverse group of followers, including March 14 supporters and Future Movement MPs Mohammad Kabbara and Khaled Daher, as well as independent Islamist figures such as Kanaan Naji and Sheikh Raed Kabbara. The group also draws supporters from the Bab al-Tabbaneh neighborhood.

“Authorities should deal with the detainees in line with the law and to take into consideration that residents carried arms to defend themselves and their homes,” Kabbara said.

“The gathering is committed to the implementation of the security pan which did stop the violence and we reject all deviations from the plan including arbitrary detention.”

The lawmaker was referring to the security plan launched by the military on April 1 to restore law and order in the northern city, which was plagued by several rounds of sectarian fighting between Sunni and Alawite residents over the crisis in Syria.

The plan successfully ended the deadly clashes and led to the arrest of dozens of armed men who were involved in the conflict including militia commanders.

A Twitter post by the ISF stated that the Abu Ali roundabout was closed in all directions, as well as the coastal road, the Nasseri Mosque Street in Bab al-Tabbaneh and the entrance to Syria Street.

Tripoli residents blocked several roads in north Lebanon Wednesday after news emerged that the health of a militia leader in prison had deteriorated.

Ziad Allouki, a former militia commander in the Tripoli neighborhood of Bab al-Tabbaneh, was taken from Roumieh prison to Hayat Hospital overnight Wednesday after suffering fatigue.

The militiaman, who is on a hunger strike, was returned to prison Wednesday morning after receiving medical care.

A crowd of about 300 women and 200 men blocked the Abu Ali roundabout early Wednesday morning to demand Allouki's release. By midday, they had set up two tents in the middle of the highway.

Protests also broke out in Bab al-Tabbaneh, Qibbeh, Maaloula and the old vegetable market, after Allouki's family received a phone call from a Roumieh prisoner informing them that their son had been rushed to the hospital after suffering a heart attack at dawn.

A source close to the family told The Daily Star that Allouki’s parents had been notified of their son’s sudden health deterioration through Saad Masri, another militia commander who had fought gunbattles in Tripoli and is held at Roumieh prison.

The protesters are demanding the release of all militia leaders who had turned themselves in to the Lebanese Army with promises they would be released before the holy month of Ramadan.





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