SIDON, Lebanon: Detainees accused of involvement in last year’s Abra clashes in Sidon warned Friday they would go on a hunger strike next month unless two sheikhs were released, urging their trials to be expedited.
“We announce to the Lebanese, Sidon residents and those involved in the Abra case that we demand the release of everyone who had no role in the clashes, particularly Sheikh Assem al-Arefi and Sheikh Alaa al-Saleh and for [the judiciary] to speed up the trials of detainees or else we will go on a hunger strike starting June 2,” said a statement by the Committee of Abra Detainees.
It added that almost a year had passed since their apprehension and decried the fact that their trials had not yet begun. It also criticized the “harsh and difficult conditions” inside the detention center.
Some 40 supporters of fugitive Salafist Sheikh Ahmad Assir that took part in clashes with the Lebanese Army in the coastal city of Sidon in June of last year were arrested shortly after the fighting ended.