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Machnouk pledges action on militants in Roumieh

  • Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk lays the foundation stone at a new prison in Roumieh, Monday, June 16, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)

BEIRUT: Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk Monday vowed to crack down on terrorists inside the Roumieh prison, during a ground-breaking for a new building for security-related inmates.

“There is a breeding ground for terrorists in this prison,” Machnouk said in a speech at the Roumieh prison facility northeast of Beirut.

“God willing and during a short period of time, we will confront terrorism inside jail,” he said in reference to the notorious Roumieh prison, which is holding detainees from the Al-Qaida-affiliated Fatah al-Islam accused of attacking the army in the 2007 clashes in Nahr al-Bared.

Machnouk lamented that the delay in trials for Islamist militants was having a negative impact on the prison situation.

He said that while prisons across Lebanon were only designed to hold 2,500 prisoners, there were 7,800 inmates, adding that 62 percent of them were being held without trial.

Machnouk urged Lebanese authorities, including prosecutors and the Supreme Judicial Council, to speed up the trials “so that no oppressed will remain in prison.”

 
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