BEIRUT: Three Fatah al-Islam inmates escaped from Roumieh prison, a senior officer told The Daily Star Friday. According to the officer, the prisoners escaped from the prison’s B building, but it is still undetermined when they actually fled.
MTV television station reported that the inmates may have escaped around a month ago and their disappearance was only discovered when prison guards went looking for one man to go to his court date.
After the prison guards did a head count of the entire wing they discovered two other inmates were also missing, the station reported.
Al-Jadeed Television station reported that one of the escaped inmates may have been killed in Syria. The station showed unconfirmed video footage of what may have been the dead body of one inmate.
Other inmates are being questioned over the breakout, while members of the police have begun a manhunt around the forested hills surrounding Roumieh, the officer said.
Islamist prisoners have been held in Roumieh for several years over suspected links to Fatah al-Islam, which fought the Lebanese Army in the Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared in 2007. Many of the prisoners have not been tried or convicted of crimes.
Over the past several years numerous escape attempts have been made by Islamist detainees and a number have left Roumieh. But those who did get out were either killed or captured after leaving the prison.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on October 13, 2012, on page 1.