Machnouk said he would not permit such abusive treatment “under any circumstances or for any reason.”(The Daily Star/Khalil Hassan)
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Five members of the Internal Security Forces are under arrest after videos surfaced showing them severely beating prisoners held in Lebanon's notorious Roumieh prison as the interior minister vowed to prosecute aggressors.The videos, published on social media sites over the weekend, show ISF members beating a handful of handcuffed and kneeling prisoners with a baton, and groping them and kicking them in the face. They were in a sun-lit room with several other quiet, kneeling prisoners. Machnouk said at least four other guards had participated in the torture, in addition to the two whose faces appeared in the video and have been arrested. Machnouk said he would not permit such abusive treatment "under any circumstances or for any reason," but said it was "not strange" that it had happened. He said the video was shot during last April's prison revolt, when prisoners blocked entrances, set mattresses on fire, and took 20 guards hostage. Machnouk admitted that the conditions in Roumieh before the April revolt "were very bad," owing especially to overcrowding. He noted that Lebanon's prisons have space for just 2,500 inmates but hold 7,000 . The videos that surfaced on YouTube Saturday showed over a dozen Roumieh prisoners crouching on a floor with their hands tied behind their backs.
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