BEIRUT: Four Tripoli residents detained as part of a security plan launched by authorities in spring were released Tuesday after Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi urged judiciary to speed up trials and release those who were found innocent.
The prisoners, Tarek Berri, Khaled Marzouk, Bilal al-Naaman and Khaled al-Naaman, were released from Tripoli’s Qibbeh prison and received by their family members, a security source told The Daily Star.
The four prisoners went on hunger strike last week in solidarity with fellow inmates in Roumieh prison, demanding their immediate release.
Bab al-Tabbaneh residents carried out protests last week, blocking roads leading to the Abu Ali roundabout with rocks, trash cans and tires, urging the release of relatives detained over involvement in Tripoli clashes. They ended the protests after receiving promises from politicians that some prisoners would be released this week.
The Sunni Bab al-Tabbaneh neighborhood and the Alawite district of Jabal Mohsen were involved in a series of clashes because of rival allegiances in the war in Syria. Calm was restored and dozens of armed men, including militia commanders and Islamists, were arrested when the Army launched a security plan on April 1 to restore law and order.
Relatives of the detained claimed that those arrested had only surrendered because of promises made by local leaders to get them out of jail in two weeks’ time.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 16, 2014, on page 3.