TRIPOLI, Lebanon: Three inmates, who apparently began a hunger strike in jail four days ago, were taken to hospital Thursday after as supporters maintained a road blockade in the northern city of Tripoli to press for their release.
The Abu Ali roundabout and the Maaloula-Minieh roads remained blocked to traffic for a second day by protesters demanding the release of dozens of men who are held for alleged involvement in the Tripoli clashes earlier this year.
There were no attempts by the police or the Lebanese Army to reopen the roads, leaving it to local political leaders to resolve the issue.
Security sources told The Daily Star that three inmates at Lebanon’s notorious Roumieh prison had been admitted to hospital early Thursday after apparently fainting because of their hunger strike.
They were identified as Mohammad Bekdash, Bilal Baqqar and Yehya al-Saleh.
A group of about 30 women, some brandishing ISIS banners, remained in the two tents set up Wednesday to add pressure on politicians to release militia commanders and other suspects jailed in connection with the Tripoli clashes earlier this year.
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 after suffering fatigue.
A crowd of about 500 women and young men had blocked the Abu Ali roundabout Wednesday to demand Allouki's release. Later Wednesday, the protesters set up two tents in the middle of the highway.
Family members and supporters claim that militia leaders and other mainly Sunni fighters had only surrendered to authorities during the April security plan for Tripoli after local leaders promised to get them out of jail in two weeks’ time.